Neighbors Cry Fowl Over Chicken Stink

Neighbors Cry Fowl Over Chicken Stink
By: Holly Brantley

NEW MADRID COUNTY, Mo. - A problem in one New Madrid County neighborhood is causing a big stink....literally.  Some residents say the smell coming from a nearby chicken coop is making them sick.
"It's so bad we can't even leave the doors open," said Willard Fincher. "It smells worse than raw sewage.  We'd like to be able to enjoy a nice afternoon outside, but you just can't do it."
"It smells like straight catfish bait," said Cory Hampton. "Certainly not a good smell."
The smell comes from a chicken farm owned by the Heckemeyer family.  Joe Heckemeyer told Heartland News they are aware for the smell.
"I've had some legislative experience and there are no odor laws in the state of Missouri.  In fact, it's hard to classify an odor or a smell," Heckemeyer said. 
Heckemeyer said the story has an interesting twist because the smell is a result of the family's efforts to be more environmentally conscious.  They don't use commercial fertilizer.
"This farm is total nutrient management.  We are constantly testing what goes into the ground.  The smell isn't constant.  Once we get a good rain it usually goes away," he said. 
"I've asked him to do something about and I'm told there's no odor laws in Missouri," said Fincher.  "If I wanted to sell my house there's no way I could."
Heckemeyer said he's tried to do everything he can to lessen the effects of the smell.  He's moved his compost pile further away from residents.  Still, those who live nearby say they've had it with the stench, and they want to let folks know what they are dealing with.
"I don't know the answer to the problem," said Fincher. "If I could find one I'd sure do something about it."
"There are lots of things that smell out in the country," said Heckemeyer. "If a possum got hit and was dead on the side of the road, if would smell."
The New Madrid County Sheriff's Department said no complaints have been filed.