Matt Kroschel is a CBS-TV multimedia journalist originally from Colorado now reporting in Huntsville, Alabama for WHNT News 19. We are Taking Action and Getting Results! Send news tips on Twitter @ Matt_Kroschel.
Community Debate Pits Farmers Rights vs Neighborhood
By Matt Kroschel
Hotchkiss- On the flat top mesa overlooking the quite farming town of Hotchkiss, veterinarian Susan Raymond knows all to well it is the chickens that would come before the eggs.
Raymond and a posse of other neighbors on Powell Mesa have their feathers ruffled over 15 thousand laying hens that could be moving in next door. After weeks of heated debates in front of Delta County planners and committees, two different commissions have said no to the plan, now its in the commissioners hands.
Raymond fears if the chicken house goes in, her property value will plummet. But not so fast says the Mennonite farmer who is proposing this egg operation.
Edwin Hostetler has farmed the area for several years and has seen profits from hay and cattle fall off in recent years, and now is turning to the profitable cage free chicken farming industry to save his family's way of life.
"This is not going to affect any of my neighbors anymore than the farming I have been doing here for years, spreading chicken poop for natural fertilizer is something they have never complained about before, but now its the big bad wolf," Hostetler told NewsChannel Five Tuesday.
Because of his religious beliefs he asked to not be filmed for the story but he did give NewsChannel Five access to the proposed facility site.The cage free chicken farm would provide Colorado raised eggs for Safeway stores, a growing trend in the state.
Cage free or not, Dr. Raymond and others fear the costs if the project gets passed are enormous.
The Board of County Commissioners is scheduled to decide on the applications at the Delta County Courthouse on Monday, August 9th.
We will cover the meeting and bring you the latest on the networks of NewsChannel Five.