Posted: Tuesday, April 02, 2002

Spring is just around the corner and all the fun things we do here in Alaska each summer are just about to begin. Green houses will be blooming and everyone will crawl out of their winter homes and be spending more and more time outdoors. Even the tourists will come back unless of course we go ahead and vote to raise 400,000 hogs here on the Kenai Peninsula.

Let me tell you all a little story about raising pigs. I raised pigs in Wisconsin for many years and know first hand about raising pigs and how unstable the market is. I know every aspect of being a hog farmer from birth to butchering. I have even worked at a butcher shop where the hogs were butchered and the meat processed and even observed the waste being removed by the rendering trucks.

The Kenai Peninsula is no place for a large hog raising operation of any kind. There are no facilities to dispose of the waste after the animals are processed. There are no manure handling facilities other than to simply spread it on the land and hope it doesn't end up running into one of our streams. The smell in the summer time will be horrendous to say the least. There is basically no market for such a large number of hogs here on the peninsula.

Who is to benefit from allowing the type of operation to build here anyway? Will it give us cheap pork? Will it enhance our tourism industry by offering a state run campground next to the hog farm?

Please allow me to answer the above questions for you. The only person who will benefit from this is the guy who wants $400,000 of your tax dollars to study the feasibility of this ridiculous situation. Farmers all over the lower 48 have had a real difficult time showing a profit raising pigs the last few years but now some guy thinks Alaska is the secret place to raise pigs. Feed lots often time lose money because feed cost is high and hog prices are low. The feed for these feed lots is often times raised right on the feed lot. Now somebody thinks he can ship in both the feed to Alaska and the processed meat back out and still show a profit? My chicken feed here is exactly double what I paid in Wisconsin, mainly due to the cost of shipping it here. Cheap pork here on the Kenai will still only mean hitting the sales at one of our local stores. It won't come from any hogs that were raised here.

Ever travel the upper midwest and drive by any feed lots, hog farms or rendering yards? They all have two things in common--they have an odor and you don't see any campgrounds, resort or parks by any of them. These places all have a need but not here in the wilderness of Alaska. Lets keep things here on the Kenai Peninsula the way we all like it, clean fresh air.

In the mean time how about the state government giving me a $400,000 grant to study why I like fishing and hunting in the wilderness of Alaska. We could even study why I like fishing and hunting more than going to work. We could also study why fish can't swim backwards when you're bringing them up through the ice. Throw in an extra $21,000 and I will even attend one of these meetings and explain other ways we can rob your tax dollars by dreaming up ways of polluting our natural resources

Get out your pens and start writing fellow Alaskans, and do your part in helping preserve Alaska, as we know it.

See you next week!

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