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Camp sues Rush County over dairy farm location

Posted at 5:05 PM, May 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-23 17:49:03-04

RUSH COUNTY, Ind. – An Indiana summer camp says all it wants to do is protect your child, and that’s why it has filed suit against Rush County.

The county recently gave the go-ahead to a new business to set up close to Harvest Christian Camp. Some say it’s too close.

For 33 years, House of Prayer Ministries has opened its grounds to host the camp in southern Henry County. Three-hundred to 500 kids come every summer. And they spend most of their time outside.

“It’s beautiful. It’s peaceful. Kids come on the grounds and say they feel like they’re home,” Harvest Christian Camp Executive Director Christine Hynds said. “It’s just a wonderful place."

But now the camp’s coordinators say a large dairy farm could poison the air in that area.

The industrial dairy farm – also known as a “concentrated animal feeding operation” – has been approved for just down the road from the camp, in Rush County.

The Rush County Board of Zoning Appeals ruled Milco Dairy LLC can move in 1,400 cows a half-mile from the camp.

It’s going to be southwest of the camp, and the opposition says the camp will get direct winds from the farm all the time.

Pastor David Todd of House of Prayer Ministries says the smell will be awful, but that’s only a fraction of the issue.

“We started doing research. We started finding out odors are ‘emission,’ just (like) any other factory,” Todd said. “This includes ammonia, fecal pathogens, fecal matter… They’re building three ginormous lagoons – back in the day we called those ‘cesspools’ – and they’ll be open and we’ll have flies that come from that.”

House of Prayer Ministries says Rush County was out of line in approving the farm: County law states no industrial farm is allowed within a mile of a school.

“And so – should not the children of the camp have the same protection as the children in the school?” Pastor Todd asked.

RTV6 did reach out to Rush County for comment on the lawsuit. The Rush County Joint Planning and Zoning Office said it had no comment at this time.

Meanwhile the company at the center of the controversy – Milco Dairy LLC – says Rush County had a forum, let people give feedback, and then made its decision according to the law.

But that forum didn’t necessarily include people from the county next door, which is what’s causing so much conflict.


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