Magistrate Russell Poore, who spear headed the idea in March of having the county supply such a program, was stead fast Tuesday on his beliefs that Logan County would all benefit from such a program, even if it meant taxpayers subsidizing it.
Magistrate Jo Orange has been the opposing side of the argument claiming the cost may not outweighs the benefits. Magistrate Thomas Bouldin says he is leaning towards Orange on the issue.
“I’m a bit on Mrs. Orange’s side of this subsidizing a program for a company that is for profit. I’m all about the farmers and the safety issues, but we need to do the math on this,” said Bouldin adding, that maybe they need to charge the farmer more to pick up the animal so as to break even.
A recent FDA ruling prohibits material from cattle over 30 months of age from being used in any livestock feed unless the brain and spinal cord are removed. This is what stopped Griffin Industries from providing the free service in Logan County it had been doing for years, thus leaving farmers with having to dispose of their own livestock.
It is a concern that dead animals will be disposed of in sink holes or left to rot on the side of fence rows, which could cause the spreading of disease as well as environmental contamination. This is one of the reasons Magistrate Poore feels the program would be of great use.
The county has gone as far as advertising for bids on a program, which would require a contract for pickup and removal. When the idea first hit the table, discussion on composting downed livestock was the main directive; however, locating someone who would be willing to pick up the dead animals and haul them off in a sanitary and state and county regulated manner became the plan.
The only bidder thus far has been a company of two brothers out of Christian County, who gave an estimated cost of $70,623 a year to provide the service.
The way it is supposed to work is that a farmer would pay a flat fee per animal, which would be collected by the extension service and turned over to the county, who gets charged by the contractor. The best case scenario is the program pays for itself; however, only projections can be made on how many farmers will use the service and how many dead animals will be in need of pickup. The extension service has given out last year’s documentation on deceased animals and came up with that estimate to give to bidders.
Magistrate Poore made a motion Tuesday to rebid the proposal, changing some of the original language asking now for the service to be on a six month trial basis to see if it will work and also asking that the deceased animals not to be taken to the landfill in Logan County.
“Where are you going to come up with the money to subsidize this program,” asked Magistrate Orange Tuesday.
Magistrate Poore said it would be from the same place the county gets money to subsidize other programs and said it was no different than subsidizing the animal shelter.
Magistrate Orange said by law the county was forced to fund a shelter but was not a deceased animal pickup program.
“Something needs to be done. I’ve got farmers asking me what is going to happen,” said Logan County Extension Agent Chris Milam, who agreed his office would facilitate the proposed program.
“If we keep subsidizing programs the county will go broke,” said Orange who is afraid there won’t be enough farmers who will use the service and the county will get charged by the contractor regardless.
Magistrate Jack Crossley seconded Poore’s motion saying he would only be for it for six months to see if it worked. All magistrates and Judge/Executive Logan Chick voted for the rebidding of the proposed program with Magistrate Orange voting no.
“The only thing you can do is try. Many of the farmers I spoke with said they would use the service,” said Poore.