Farming community should respect in-town community

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor, 

Every year the citizens of Monticello are subjected to tanker trucks of hog manure winging their way through town and leaving a trail of stench that hangs in the air for hours, if not days. Sometimes we get hit with it in the spring and again in the fall, but I can’t think of a worse way to attract people to come to Monticello if they happen to be here when this is going on. 

My wife happened to go to Fareway one day and by the time she got to the front door, the stench was so bad she almost turned around and headed for the car; it was so awful. 

Yes, I know this is a “farm community,” I grew up here, but to just throw up our hands and say nothing could or should be done about it is simply giving up without even giving it a thought. 

Yes, I know the highway commission allows these trucks on the roads and we can’t keep them off the highways, so says Mayor Wolken who also farms and says he isn’t about to do anything to stop it, which calls into question why he is mayor of Monticello if his loyalty isn’t with the city and the people who live here. 

I know these are people who pump out septic tanks and they, too, have to drive through town, but they don’t generally smell like these tanker trucks filled with hog manure. Why do you suppose that is? My guess is they keep them cleaned up and capped so the smell isn’t so pervasive. 

When I see these tanker trucks rolling through town, you can see a trail of liquid hog manure running clear down the side of the tank, and my bet is they never close up the hatch. You don’t see that on the septic tank trucks for the obvious reason; stinking up the place would put them out of business in a hurry! 

In Linn County if you haul trash or anything that can fly off a truck, you have to cover your loads. It doesn’t seem like a very big stretch to say if you want to haul hog manure through Monticello, you have to cap the load and hose down the tank to clean up any hog manure running down the outside. 

Farmers were good neighbors in the past and because this is the place they once shopped for everything they needed they had a good reputation which they maintained. The feeling was mutual, and the business owners responded to the needs of the farmer as best they could as a result. With the farm operations getting larger and larger and the number of farms dwindling, the results have not been good for Monticello. At the same time, the farm community seems to think the “city folks” should continue to be beholden to the corporate farmers because this is a “farm community.” This isn’t a one-way street. 

Steve Hanken 

Monticello, Iowa 

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