Madison County Courthouse

MADISON — It was apparent Tuesday that farming has become specialized and high-tech.

Following three public hearings, the Madison County board of commissioners approved applications for two wean-to-finish 1,000-head swine finishing units sought by two cousins and a four-barn broiler poultry operation sought by a U.S. Army officer who plans to return to the county.

The cousins are Dale Frisch and Calvin Frisch. Dale Frisch plans to operate a swine finishing unit for 1,000 head of swine on property at 53965 826th Road. It is about 3 miles north and 3 miles east of Newman Grove.

Calvin Frisch plans to operate a swine finishing unit for 1,000 head of swine at 54068 825th Road. It is about 2½ miles east and one-half mile north of Newman Grove. The two barns are located about a mile from each other.

The Frisches said they both are farming now but have other jobs. Eventually they hope to be able to just farm to make a living, they said.

The Frisches intend to custom feed hogs that would come weaned — about 10 to 13 pounds. They then would be fed to finish.

Both operations would contain pits about 8 feet deep under the barns. Once a year, the pits would be emptied, with the manure knifed into the ground as fertilizer. The ground would be tested and fertilizer adjusted accordingly.

Both Dale and Calvin live on their places where the pigs will be raised or within one-half mile. Dale also has a 400-head nursery, but those pigs will not be going into the new finish barn.

Each scored 380 points on the county’s matrix, with 350 needed to pass. The Frisches said they plan to help each other and fill in for one another if someone has to be gone for a day. Their hogs also will be coming from the same supplier, so there should be no biohazard issues.

About the only difference was that Calvin had one house about 1,200 feet away from his proposed barn, just within the 1,320-foot setback, but the occupant had signed a waiver.

Commissioners thanked both men for investing in the county.

“It’s great to see young guys farming and making this capital improvement in the county,” said commissioner Troy Uhlir. “We wish you the best.”

In addition, commissioners approved the application of Scott Schmidt, who is the son of Ron Schmidt, county board chairman.

Ron Schmidt declared a conflict of interest and did not participate in the vote. Uhlir, as vice chairman, conducted the public hearing and led the discussions.

Scott Schmidt grew up in Madison County. Schmidt now resides in northeast Maryland with his wife and their six children, the oldest of whom is 11.

Schmidt is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and hopes to retire and move back to the farm by next summer. He had been at prior meetings but was not at Tuesday’s hearing.

The four poultry barns will be to grow broilers for Lincoln Premium Poultry. The barns would cover about 5 acres near 829th Road, which is about 3½ miles west of Madison. Litter from the flocks will be composted and spread out once a year to Schmidt fields.

Up to 190,000 chickens will be raised at one time, with everything housed under roof. Six flocks a year will be raised.

There are two homes within the setback area, but waivers have been signed. The operation scored 380 points, with 350 points needed.

Willow Holoubek of Lincoln Premium Poultry said the proposed operation is similar to others presented before the county board. The company will work with the county on traveling on any roads the county suggests for hauling feed or chickens.

Holoubek said overnight Monday, she got to take part in a chicken collection from one of the farms in Butler County. Chickens are gathered overnight because the processing of chickens starts at 5 a.m.

The first three sites have produced 6.4- or 6.5-pound birds, slightly larger than anticipated. That’s an indication that the chickens are growing well, so the days they are raised might be reduced by a couple of days at poultry sites in the future, she said.

The Madison County board of commissioners met Tuesday.

Members present: Chairman Ron Schmidt, Troy Uhlir and Christian Ohl.

Others in attendance: Anne Pruss, county clerk; Richard Johnson, county highway superintendent; Heather McWhorter, planning and zoning administrator; Todd Volk, sheriff; Joe Smith, Madison County attorney, six from the public and two reporters.

Meeting lasted: Three hours, 15 minutes.


— Voted to discontinue overtime payment for staff members in the zoning department, effective Oct. 1.

— Authorized advertising for bids for a patch truck for the District 2 road department.

— Authorized advertising for bids for repair of the Grandview Drive bridge across the Elkhorn River. The bridge, which is near Norfolk, also is known as the county line bridge.

— Approved the purchase of FL16 Warren dump box in the amount of $26,850 from R.D.O. Truck Center.

— Approved an agreement with Mainelli Wagner and Associates for routine biannual bridge inspections.

— Awarded a contract including Alternate No. 1 for the total amount of $1,558,118 to the low bidder, A & R Construction Company, for Benjamin Avenue Paving, near Norfolk.

— Received an update from Joe Smith, Madison County attorney, on prescription opiates litigation. The county is considering whether to join a class action lawsuit.

— Received an update on preparations for the 2020 Census for Madison County.

— Discussed establishing a method of selection for roads to receive asphaltic concrete overlay. The county will be looking to identify 15 miles of roads for the coming fiscal year.

— Reviewed written reports and processed claims.

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