OSCEOLA, NE (AP)--Father and son Pat and Brian Gabel of Shelby want to build a sizable hog-confinement operation in east-central Nebraska, but some Polk County residents are opposed to the idea.

The Polk County planning board heard four hours of testimony on the proposed hog farm Feb. 14 before voting 7 to 1 to recommend approval.

The proposal must be approved by the County Board and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.

County Board Chairman Dennis Hendricks, who farms near Polk, said he had not yet made up his mind on the proposal.

The Gabels, who already have a small hog operation, would like to build a hog-confinement complex that could handle 9,900 hogs. They said a large operation was key to competing in the pork market. It would be located a few miles southwest of Shelby.

Neighbors fear air and groundwater contamination by a larger operation.

The county adopted a comprehensive plan and zoning regulations for livestock operations last year, after a 2,250-head dairy farm moved into Polk County. Testimony before the board Feb. 14 included people citing the dairy farm as an example of their concerns about large livestock operations.

The County Board has not set a time frame to consider the Gabel permit.

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