BURLEY, Idaho -- Cassia County's planning board will allow a Malta mink farm to double in size.
A conditional-use permit approved Thursday will allow Smith Furs, owned by Cregg Smith, to expand his confined-animal feeding operation to 4,000 breeding mink and 24,000 pelting mink.
The CAFO lies one-half mile west of Malta.
"I think Cregg's done a good job and obviously they have planned for this a long time ago," said Commissioner Burke Garner.
Planning and Zoning commissioners Daryl Whitehead and Robert Brice were not in attendance during Thursday's public hearing.
County Administrator Kerry McMurray said the board received one letter from a neighbor opposing the permit, but the letter wasn't entered into evidence because it wasn't received on time. County Prosecutor Al Barrus said the applicants are aware of concerns addressed in the letter.
The permit was approved with conditions that apply to any conditional-use permit, plus the additional requirement that Smith develop a formal agreement with a neighboring farm owner to use the minks' manure for land application. Construction for the expansion has to occur within three years.
Bob Ohlensehlen, a certified nutrient management planner, presented the farm's business plan to the commission.
He said the breeding mink are kept on the farm year-round and give birth in June. The offspring are taken off site for the pelts in November. The animals are housed in cages in semi-open sheds.
Manure drops to the ground from cages, then is removed every couple of weeks and stockpiled for distribution on neighboring farm ground.
Additional sheds and a new shop will be added to the existing six sheds.
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