Rural Residents for Responsible Agriculture

About Us

Rural Residents for Responsible Agriculture (RRRA) is a group of rural residents, family farmers, and concerned citizens who are committed to keeping our air clean, our water safe, and our communities vibrant in McDonough and Schuyler counties. We remain united in an effort to stop the construction of a large scale confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) proposed to house over 18,000 hogs. We also support community members who struggle with living and farming next to these corporate factories.



Shamrock Acres, a proposed factory farm housing over 18,000 hogs, will not be constructed in West Central Illinois anytime soon.

On June 10, 2012, the facility's application expired without approval by the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA). According to Warren Goetsch, Bureau Chief of Environmeantal Programs, "Since initial approval for this project was not obtained and construction was not commenced within one year of that basedate [. . . ] the setback period has expired and the application for the Shamrock Acres, LLC project [. . . ] has been closed."

Shamrock Acres faced widespread opposition in the community, particularly from Rural Residents for Responsible Agriculture (RRRA). RRRA is, a non-profit group of local residents and farmers in McDonough, Schuyler and Fulton Counties committed to helping rural communities protect themselves from large scale Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).

"Our research convinced us that this CAFO would have threatened our health, property values, businesses, local park, cemetery and ecosystem," said Ramona Cook, a member of RRRA who successfully sued the IDOA for withholding Shamrock Acres' constructions plans in violation of the Freedom of Information Act.

Cook said that a daycare, hunting outfitters, a writing business, cemetery, park, and over twenty residences are within one mile of the site, some as close as ½ mile. "We're not against agriculture," Cook explained. "We're farmers ourselves, some of us for five generations in this township. Yet we think factory farming is unsustainable because it causes too much long-term damage locally while profiting only a few, most of whom are from out of state."

Many thanks to the tremendous support from residents in McDonough, Fulton, and Schuyler Counties to stop this facility and keep Eldorado Township beautiful. Please visit our Background tab to learn more about the devastating impacts of CAFOs.

Local....Ways You Can Help
State....Ways You Can Help
Federal....Ways You Can Help
LOCAL....Ways You Can Help

Write letters to each McDonough County board member yourself and let them know that you want them to pass a health ordinance that protects McDonough County communities from CAFOs. Tell them you want to keep McDonough County clean and beautiful!

Thank the McDonough County board members who voted not to recommend Shamrock Acres LLC be issued a construction permit:


              Linda Jani              Alice Henry
2043 West Adams Road24 Grandview Road
Macomb, IL 61455Macomb, IL 61455
Phone Number: (309) 837-1367Phone Number: (309) 836-7231
Charles NeblockPaul Trimmer
65 Arlington Drive111 North Quail Walk Road
Macomb, IL 61455Macomb, IL 61455
Phone Number: (309) 837-1757Phone Number (309) 837-9394


              John Lawson
931 North Crafford Street
Bushnell, IL 61422
Phone Number: (309) 772-2572


              LeRoy Brown              Lee Trotter
P.O. Box 857, Rural Route #34485 E. 2000th Street
Macomb, IL 61455Adair, IL 61411
Phone Number: (309) 836-8011Phone Number: (309) 653-2526
Tony ConiglioGlen Foster
30 South Quail Walk Road118 Dove Avenue
Macomb, IL 61455Colchester, IL 62326
Phone Number: (309) 333-0304Phone Number: (309) 776-4182

Some board members recommended that Shamrock Acres be constructed in McDonough County. These board members made this recommendation despite appeals from concerned citizens that they did not have the documents necessary to know whether the facility was abiding by the law. Even with the small amount of information available, it was clear the facility did not meet the eight citing criteria required by the law. These board members were given packets by the RRRA demonstrating point by point, how the facility did not meet the criteria. In fact, the courts upheld that RRRA was right.

On September 12, a McDonough County Judge demanded the Illinois Department Of Agriculture release documents with the blueprints of the facility that the IDOA was refusing to release. And on September 7, the IDOA found that Shamrock Acres LLC did not have enough information on 5 out of the 8 criteria necessary to approve a its application to construct. Despite all of the information detailing how the facility was violating the law, these board members chose to approve the Shamrock Acres LLC application on July 20th:


              Larry Aurelio              Joe Kersting
11 Indian Trail Road118 Dove Avenue
Macomb, IL 61455Macomb, IL 61455
Phone Number: (309) 837-4999Phone Number: (309)837-3214


              Chad Hensley              Clarke Kelso
22120 North 1700 Road18660 N. 1300th Road
Bushnell, IL 61422Macomb, IL 61455
Phone Number: (309) 772-2277Phone Number (309) 769-5480
Scott Schwerer, ChairmanBob Mahr
McDonough County Board249 N. Rile
2120 N. 1500th RoadBushnell, IL 61422
Blandinsville, IL 61420Phone Number: (309) 772-2767
Phone Number: (309) 652-3830


              Bill Carle              Earl Sims
833 South Lafayette Street10245 N. 800th Road
Macomb, IL 61455Macomb, IL 61455
Phone Number: (309) 837-2578Phone Number: (309) 837-3750
David E. Nissen
4340 E. 1050th Street
Macomb, IL 61455
Phone Number: (309) 254-3683

Those who abstained from voting:

David CortelyouRod McGrew
1407 North Jackson Street805 N. Sperry St.
Bushnell, IL 61422Bushnell, IL 61422
Phone Number: (309) 772-2575Phone Number: (309) 772-2821

Board member who was absent:

Earl W. Godt
1719 West Adams Street
Macomb, IL 61455
Phone Number: (309) 837-1851

Call or write letters to State Senator John Sullivan and State Representative Norine Hammond: Tell them you do not want this facility in McDonough Co., nor do you want any more of this size and scope to be built in Illinois!

State Senator John SullivanState Representative Norine Hammond
440 N Lafayette St # 100311 N. Lafayette Street, P.O. Box 170
Macomb, IL 61455-1509Macomb, Illinois 61455
Phone Number: (309) 833-5526Phone Number: (309) 836-2707 or (217) 782-0416

If you have hunters on your ground or know of hunters who hunt around the area, have them write letters to the board, local representatives or local newspapers to voice their objection to this facility.

Send letters to the editor and let your voice be heard in media outlets across the state. Include your name, address, and phone number with letters. Usually they should be less than 400 words:

              McDonough County Voice              Illinois AgriNews
Letter to the EditorJames Henry: Letter to the Editor
203 North Randolph420 Second St.
Macomb, IL 61455La Salle, IL 61301
Email: editor@mcdonoughvoice.comEmail:
The Chicago TribunePeoria Journal Star
Voice of the PeopleForum, Journal Star
435 N. Michigan Ave.1 News Plaza
Chicago, IL 60611Peoria, IL 61643
Email: ctc-tribletter@tribunecomEmail:
The Astoria South Fulton ArgusThe Rushville Times
Attn: Editorial Dept.Letters to the Editor
P.O. Box 590P.O. Box 226
Astoria, IL 61501-0590Rushville, IL 62681
Email: argus@kkspc.comOr submit online:
Hancock County Journal-PilotQuincy Herald-Whig
Letter to the EditorLetter to the Editor:
31 N. Washington St.130 S. 5 th Street
P.O. Box 478Quincy, IL 62301
Carthage IL 62321Email:
Daily Gate City
Letter to the Editor
1016 Main Street
Keokuk, IA 52321

Eat meat that you can buy from your local family farmer. If corporations have no one to purchase their meat, they will not have an incentive to build these factories. Click here to find out who you can buy local meat and vegetables from.

STATE...Ways You Can Help

Illinois has some of the most lax restrictions on corporate animal operations in the country. Contact your public officials and tell them you want these Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations regulated to protect family farmers and rural residents.

Write to Governor Pat Quinn thanking him for his continued support of clean water and family farmers and asking him to continue to protect Illinois from corporate pollution.

Governor Pat Quinn
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: 217-782-0244 or 312-814-2121

Write to Attorney General Lisa Madigan and ask her to support community groups like RRRA and our rights to clean air and water.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan
500 S. Second St
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-1090

Write to Lt. Governor Sheila Simon and ask her to support our opposition to this facility and our right to clean air and water.

Sheila Simon, Lt. Governor
214 State House
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: 217-558-3085
Fax: 217-558-3094
FEDERAL..Ways You Can Help

Spread the word to all of your family and friends that CAFOs are not the answer for our food and rural future. It may seem small, but many voices can become a roar.

facebook Background
Questions and Answers about the Mega Hog Confinement in West Central Illinois

1. Who is building this operation?

This facility is proposed by Professional Swine Management LLC and the mega-farm facility Shamrock Acres LLC. Professional Swine Management owns facilities in Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois. Out-of-state owners are registered as managers of the Shamrock Acres Facility:1.

· Jerry Podaril, 18552 County Line Rd., Alnworth, IA 52201
· Steve Krogmeier, 1885 Admiral St., Dubuque, IA 52002
· Jim Putnam, 31083 780th St., Worthington, MN 58187
· Tom Reed, 3717 280th St., Camanche, IA 52730
· The land where the facility is being built is owned by Larry Joe O’Hern, 1695 E. 2200 Street, Vermont, IL 61484.

2. Does Professional Swine Management LLC facilities have a history of polluting rural communities?

Yes. Professional Swine Management (PSM) was sued by Attorney General Lisa Madigan for violating environmental law at a McDonough Co. facility with 3,400 hogs. The facility was openly burning medical waste and dead hog carcasses without any barriers and discharging waste illegally into Troublesome Creek. They were fined $27,000 and ordered to implement corrective measures including an on-site incinerator2.

Currently, PSM is also being sued by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan for pollution in four other counties: Adams, Fulton, McDonough, Schuyler and Hancock ( . The types of pollution in these lawsuits include:

  • Openly burning medical waste and dead hog carcasses
  • A manure stream approximately 2 feet wide and 200 yards long flowing into a state waters
  • Waterbodies colored purple from waste stocks of dead hogs
  • Discolored lakes smelling like swine waste
  • 90,000 gallons of waste leaking into a local creek

Local citizens are also suing the corporation's Hilltop View facility in Schuyler Co. for nuisance: Ward, et al. v. Professional Swine Management, Inc., et al., Schuyler County, Illinois Circuit Court, 08 L 02.

3. What will the size of this facility be?

This facility is designated as a large Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO). According to the Intent to Construct forms from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the buildings will house 18,220 hogs (8,200 hogs over 55 lbs and 10,020 hogs under 55 lbs). It will consist of the following buildings: Farrowing; Breeding and Gestation; Gilt Developer; Iso Nursery; and Office.

4. What are the human health impacts of these facilities?

Rural farm children traditionally have been less likely to develop asthma. Large CAFOS change that. In a study conducted in Keokuk Co. Iowa of 644 children, 55.8% of children who lived by large swine farms had asthma symptoms. Children who lived on farms without large swine facilities had significantly lower rates of asthma.

The odor is not only offensive, but makes people sick. How often are people exposed to these emissions? Within 2 miles of CAFOS, both resident self-reports and air quality measurement show that on 50 percent of the days randomly tested there was odor detected3. Those exposed to CAFO emissions are 4 more times more likely to report headaches, 6 times more likely to report eye irritation, and 7.8 times more likely to report nausea than those not expose to these emissions4.

These odors affected residents’ ability to sleep, be outside or entertain guests at their home. Studies also show residents who live nearby CAFOs experience increased psychological distress and decreased perceptions of control over their health and well-being5.


5. How do these facilities impact property values?

In a Missouri study, the residential value property loss near a CAFO is estimated at 88.3%6. Other studies show that some farms, including horse and vegetable farms, dropped in value 50-100%7. Residential properties further away from these CAFOs - up to three miles away - experienced a value loss of about 6.6%8.

6. What tax benefits will this facility bring to McDonough Co. and the local Eldorado township?

The tax benefits to the county are negligible. After paying federal, state, and property taxes to the Schuyler-Industry School District, the township will only receive $6,000 yearly. The township will be responsible for maintaining the roads around the facilities, which will rapidly consume this money due to deterioration of roads by truck traffic hauling hogs from these facilities.

7. How much manure will the facility produce?

Using a conservative estimate of eight gallons of waste per day per animal unit9, the CAFO is projected to produce almost 10.5 million gallons of waste per year. This means that estimated waste from the facility alone will be produce over twice the amount of solid waste that is currently produced by humans living in McDonough and Schuyler Counties every single day. We will not know the facility’s waste management plan until 60 days after the CAFO is operating.

In Illinois, this facility will not even be required to have a water permit once it is operating, even though it produces more waste than the residents living in both of the nearby counties.

8. If a CAFO does pollute, are farmers who do not own or operate the CAFO, but agree to put the waste on their fields, also liable?

Yes. Liability for environmental harm from a CAFO can extend to anyone or any entity that has exercised some level of control over the waste when the environmental harm occured. Liability will vary from case to case, but it could extend to the owner of the operation, the owner of the animals, contract operators, and manure handlers. If someone owns land and is accepting the waste from a CAFO, land applying it and a discharge occurs, the landowner could potentially be liable if they were in some way exercising control over the land application.

9. After these facilities leave, who’s left to clean them up?

Local, state, and federal tax payers. Once these CAFOs leave the area, the community and state are left with the costs. The costs of cleaning up US hog and dairy CAFOs nationally could approach $4.1 billion10.


10. How is the water quality near the proposed facility?

The proposed facility will feed into Sugar Creek via Tolan’s Branch. Sugar Creek is already on the EPAs high priority list of polluted waterbodies for fecal cloriform, and has been since 2004 ( Fecal cloriform pollution usually comes from the fecal material from humans or animals, and sometimes pulp or paper mills. PSM's former Timberview facility in Schuyler County is currently being sued by Lisa Madigan for discharging waste and purple compounds from decomposing dead hogs into tributaries of Sugar Creek.

11. How can I help?

Please help us stop the permitting of this facility. Currently, the Department of Agriculture is reviewing the facility’s construction permit. If this gets approved, there’s little we can do to stop the facility from coming in. Please contact your local and state representatives and your county board officials, and tell them that you do not want these facilities in your county.

  1. ?
  2. Illinois Attorney General Press Release. "Madigan: Proposed Settlement with McDonough County Swine Operation Addresses Problems." ?
  3. Wing, S., R. A. Horton, S. W. marshall, K. Thu, M. Tajik, L. Schinasi, and S. S. Schiffman. "Air Pollution and Odor in Communities Near Industrial Swine Operations." Environmental Health Perspectives. 116(10): 1362-1368. (2008) ?
  4. Schiffman, S.S., C. E. Studwell, L.R. Landerman, K. Berman, and J.S. Sundy. "Symptomatic Efforts of Exposure to Diluted Air Sampled from a Swine Confinement Atmosphere on Healthy Human Subjects." Environmental Health Perspectives. 113(5): 567-576. (2005)?
  5. Bullers, S. "Environmental Stressors, Perceived Control, and Health: The Case of Residents NearLarge-Scale Hog Farms in Eastern North Carolina." Human Ecology. 33(1): 567-76. (2005)?
  6. Mubarek Hamed, Thomas Johnson, and Kathleen Miller, "The Impacts of Animal Feeding Operations on Rural Land Values," University of Missouri- Columbia Community Policy Analysis Center Report R-99-02 (May, 1999).?
  7. Kilpatrick, J. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and Proximate Property Values. The Appraisal Journal: 301-306. (2001)?
  8. Mubarek Hamed, Thomas Johnson, and Kathleen Miller, "The Impacts of Animal Feeding Operations on Rural Land Values," University of Missouri- Columbia Community Policy Analysis Center Report R-99-02 (May, 1999).?
  9. The facility will have 3,580.6 animal units. Swine weighing over 55 pounds are multiplied by .4, and swine weighing less than 55 pounds are multiplied by .03.Field bordering McDonough and Schuyler Counties nearby the proposed mega hog factory.?
  10. Union of Concerned Scientists. "CAFOs Uncovered - The Untold Costs of Confined Animal Feeding Operations." (2008)?
facebook RRRA In the News

RRRA and Prairie Rivers Network Pleased With Department of Agriculture Ruling

State Department Wants More Details on Proposed Hog Confinement

RRRA Member Wins Lawsuit Against Department of Agriculture

No Permit Issued For Shamrock Acres

Hog Confinement Opposition Have Lived In Area For Generations

McDonough County Board Split on Hog Confinement Recommendation

Judge Will Decide Whether or Not to Release Hog Farm Designs

Ag Lobbyist Nic Anderson Turns Reader 'Off' Pork

County Board Chairman Scott Schwerer Holds Board Vote On Confinement When Big RRRA Supporter Cannot Absent

Anthropologist Warns of CAFO Impacts on Rural Communities

Local AARP Opposes Hog Farm

Judge Denies IDOA's Move to DIsmiss Case

RRRA Member Sues Illinois Department of Agriculture for Documents

Proposed Hog Farm Creates Ruckus

Review of Public Meeting on Shamrock Acres LLC

Purchase Meat Responsibly or Cut Back

Pollution Knows No Boundaries

Macomb Residents Stand Side By Side With Rural McDonough County

WGEM: Hundreds Attend Hearing on Controversial Hog Farm

McDonough County Voice: Opinion Opportunity

Big Change in Big Hog Farm

KHQA: Two Sides Butt Heads Over Proposed Industrial-Scale Hog Farm

PJ Star: Landowner CLAIMS Ownership Change at Hearing

WIUM: Raising a Stink About McDonough County Hog Farm

Macomb Residents Stand Together With Rural Residents

Hog Corporation Invaders Invoke Image of British Colonizers

Is This What You Want for Your Country?

The Voice of Personal Loss at the Hand of CAFOs

Impacts of Hog Confinement Odor on Future Generation

The Smell of a Distant Dollar

Mr. Hollis's Assertions Simply Are Not True

Professional Swine Management's Propaganda

Correcting Mr. Hollis, Vice President of Professional Swine Management

McDonough Co. Voice Covers Proposed Shamrock Acres Facility

Radio Show Covers local RRRA Farmer and Professional Swine Management Pollution

McDonough County Board Votes for Public Meeting

Shamrock Acres Is An Insult

In the Spotlight: Using Symbol of Irish Freedom On This Farm Is Insulting

In the Spotlight: It's Time To Hold CAFOs Accountable

Shamrock Acres: An Irish Perspective

Hunter talks about property loses from hog factory

McDonough County Citizens Expect an Answer from Sullivan and Hammond

McDonough County Board Votes for Public Meeting

Proposed Hog Farm Will be Subject of Hearing

In the Spotlight: Huge Hog Farms Are Hostile Incursion

Public Broadcasting: Proposed Hog Farm will be Subject of Hearing

RRRA in the Chicago Tribune!

A Response to 12-year-old's letter

12-year-old has questions for proposed hog farm

Proposed McDonough County hog confinement threatens 'Angel Lane'

CAFOs in the Dark:

Stop the Hog Factory Proliferation in Schuyler County:

RRRA refutes PSM's misinformation

Another huge hog confinement for Professional Swine Management

Families Fight Plans for Large Hog Farm

Forum: Corporate -owned animal factories ruin rural areas

WGEM Radio features RRRA

facebook Contact Us

We want to share our stories with you of how this facility threatens our community’s future. Below are pictures that many of our group members have taken of the homes and farms that they love.


Phone: (309) 254-3228