Sheldon Council Hears Concerns From Residents About Crop use of Land Near Their Homes

Date posted - May 2, 2013

dry corn plants ready for harvest sxcSheldon, Iowa — A number of Sheldon residents addressed the city council Wednesday with concerns about the farm use of a piece of land near their homes.

The land in question is adjacent to the city cemetery and is designated to be a part of the cemetery when needed in the future.  This property has been in alfalfa for quite a few years.  But, the council was told a few weeks ago that the alfalfa stand was getting weak and the council approved a lease which would allow it to be used for corn or soybeans for a few years before returning it to alfalfa.

Tom Whorley was the first to address the council with several concerns.  He recalled that the last time corn was grown in that field they had cornstalks blowing all around the area in the fall.  He also had concerns about the chance of a field fire spreading to their homes and the danger of chemicals used in the field drifting to their property.  He asked the council to reconsider the lease agreement.

Rod Fonkert had the same concerns and asked if the person leasing the ground had insurance to cover fire or spray damage.  After several  other residents followed with similar questions and comments, council member Ron Rensink told the group that the council had made a mistake, not realizing the problems that could result from their action.  He suggested this be made an agenda item at a future meeting so it could be discussed and action taken.  City Manager Scott Wynja stated that the person who leased the land is willing to work with the council if a change in the lease is needed.   Since the field work has already begun the council felt it was important that action be taken soon and the special meeting was set for Monday, May 6th at noon.

During one of the four public hearings at Wednesday’s meeting Jill Collen asked the council to make an addition to the plat for the new Sheldon Crossing development.  The plan calls for a street headed south from the proposed residential area extended along the east side of the Rosenboom property, then turning to the west connecting with Country Club Road.  Collen told  the council she would like to see this street also proceed south behind the Letner-Groot,  Andringa and Collen properties.   She said this would make it possible for them to develop residential lots in that area.  The council was hesitant to make changes in the plat at this late date, but pointed out this could be added at any time.  In addition, at least one council member mentioned that they would have to hear from all three property owners before any plans for the future could be addressed.

We’ll have more city council news on future KIWA newscasts.

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20 Responses to “Sheldon Council Hears Concerns From Residents About Crop use of Land Near Their Homes”

  1. Doug says:

    Once, I was driving through the countryside, and I noticed that many farmers live next to the fields they farm, without harm from spray chemicals or field fires. Have the folks on the north edge of Sheldon had any problems with spray damage or fires? That’s been planted in corn every other year for-ever.

    • Sheldon Citizen says:

      Pesticides may not appear to cause any damage to people, but there are long-term effects such as cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

    • Ryan says:

      I live where your asking, and yes, it’s a problem.
      First problem was when they disked the ground I lost a foot and a half of grass all the way across my property. Then then came and sprayed and that killed another foot of my grass all the way across.

      I can live with raking up the corn husks and the asian beetles that come with living next to far land. But the spraying and disking of my grass is a bigger concern.


      • Ryan says:

        I forgot to add that when they spread manure on top of the ground it took a whole month this year before one could walk outside and not get sick from the smell.

        • Doug says:

          There are regulations that require covering (tillage;ie discing) surface applied manure within so many hours. There is also a law which restricts surface application of liquid manure on frozen or snow-covered ground. There may also be regulations requiring separation distances between manure application and sensitive areas such as residences. The DNR office in Spencer can provide you with additional information.

          Surface applying manure that close to homes wasn’t the best choice as there is commercial fertilizer readily available.

          In regards to the encroachment on your lawn, if the property line is not marked and you are sure where it is, why not go pick up some white fiberglass electric fence posts to put in the property line? You can pick them up at Bomgaars for not much more than a buck each. They should help the operator, see where his implement doesn’t belong.

  2. Hank Rearden says:

    City Slickers, I tells ya.

    I’d like to hear from Harriet Oleson on this one to see how they handled this in Walnut Grove.

  3. Mr. GreenJeans says:

    can’t really see how it’s worth it to the farmer to even farm that small piece of land

  4. Pete says:

    According to the internet, Alfalfa attracts gophers, who burrow under ground and create tunnels for mice to live in and breed. The mice attract the North American Chicken hawk that prey on mice. These sky beasts snatch the mice from the ground, which then causes the startled farmer who is bailing the hay to drop his cigarette he’s enjoying, thus igniting the recently baled hay. Which then in turn spreads to the near by residential neighborhood. Scary stuff my friends.

  5. Farmer's wife says:

    I am sorry people, this is farming, and this is a farming community, and besides think was the ag operators provide to this community.

    • FIELD OF DREAMS says:

      I have been to that cemetary, the land has been cut way too close
      to the headstones and plots.
      You give an inch and it will be gone.

  6. TDS says:

    At first I thought what a joke, quit your whining. But, if somebody came and tore up part of my lawn and then spread crap on it I think I might be a little upset also.

  7. Hank Rearden says:

    I can remember when the edge of town was about 1 block east of East Elementary, to the west and south of the cemetary and the High School was out in the middle of nowhere. The town has encroached on the farm, not the other way around.

  8. Harriet Oleson says:

    Well per the request….. Back in Walnut Grove aka De Smet…. Pa and Ma Ingalls decided to homestead on the prairie. There were wild animals, restless Native Americans and all sort of vegetation nearby. One time when half-pint dropped a kerosene lantern – a hell of a fire broke out on the open range – burned half of Cottonwood County. Everyone just figured that was the risk you take when you build your dream shanty near the Big Woods….

  9. Ryan says:

    Obviously the majority of people here side with the farmers. Just think about your own backyard for a minute. Would you be happy about losing roughly 260 square feet of your lawn? In 1 year. Probably not. I don’t think anyone would like that.

    • Sue says:

      As far as the odor goes from the manure, I guess one forgets without that you could not enjoy that grilled steak or pork chop on your plate at meal time. Living on an acerage, we have lost a bit of lawn to spray drift. I look at it this way, less to mow, but then again I have bigger things to worry about.

  10. Farmer's wife says:

    I have had another thought brought up to me. The two people stated that were complaining about the farmer’s activity, I wonder if they complain when they get 2% of that farmer’s estate or if that realtor that sells that land forgoes his commission on land prices right now. I doubt that.

  11. misinformed says:

    I don’t think some of you know all the facts. a petition was signed to stop this by most of/if not all of the home owners around the said piece of land. Also the codes that everyone has to follow even city officals in a res. area can not be use for ag purpose only residental homes. it’s 20 to 30 people/family’s that are objecting to the use of this piece of land. I was at the council meeting and listen to the 2 men talk for the family’s concerned.

  12. frankie V says:

    So I have been told that a local professional agronomy application company would not begin to even consider spraying these acres with any normal corn herbicides or insecticides. I hope the farmer has plenty of liability insurance and makes sure that his insurance company knows the exact location of this piece of “farmland”. He might need it. The city should take the responsibility that the insurance exists and is kept current since they are the other party to the lease.

    So why not just plant the area to grass. That is where it is eventually going anyway. No need to mow it as often as the cemetery. Or let the grass grow as many farmers do with their waterways and other buffer strips then bale it once or twice per year. Price of baled grass hay has been rather attractive.

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