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Constitutional Amendment Worries CAFO Opponents

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's CAFO's vs. Free Range page and our Indiana News page.

WINCHESTER, Ind. - It's a problem forcing some people from their homes and some say an Indiana law designed to protect farmers is making things worse. The issue involves big farms, manure and potentially dangerous chemicals.


Allen Hutchison and his wife Judy have lived in the small town of Winchester for 22 years. Flags line Main Street and cornfields stretch for miles. The Hutchisons say life was good, until eight years ago when their new neighbor moved in.

"We come home and it would knock you out of your car," Allen Hutchison said of the smell.

Allen says he and his wife were greeted by a powerful smell coming from their new neighbor's property. That neighbor was a concentrated animal feeding operation, or CAFO.


A CAFO is where animals such as cows, pigs and others are kept and raised in confined areas. Allen, a farmer himself, says that's not his idea of farming.

"These pictures you see on television from California and those cows and stuff where your milk comes from," Allen said.

His wife Judy chimes in, "Don't believe it."

"It don't happen that way," Allen said.

Hutchison and other small farmers say they are literally being pushed out of their homes when large farms that confine animals move in next door. The problem, they said: the CAFOs also bring a large lagoon of liquid manure. Million of gallons right next door.

"After a while it kills your senses," Allen said. "You don't smell anymore."

He says he can feel it burning.

"You can feel it, but you don't smell it," he said.

The Hutchisons say besides the smell, the farm created health problems for them. The pits are full of ammonia, methane gas and hydrogen sulfide that can be harmful or toxic. For years they fought headaches along with burning in their throat and lungs. Allen was put on four inhalers.

But the Hutchison's say that wasn't the only problem.    
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