04/20/04 — Duplin says no to rendering plant

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Duplin says no to rendering plant

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on April 20, 2004 2:01 PM

KENANSVILLE -- The Duplin County commissioners say they will not allow a rendering plant to be built anywhere in the county.

It didn't take a lot of discussion Monday morning for county commissioners to vote after hearing a presentation by Allen Holmes of the Bowden Crossroads community.

Holmes said he has heard from a "reliable source," which he has not disclosed, that Smithfield Foods and Murphy Brown are looking for a place to build a rendering plant, and Bowden is their primary site. An official with Murphy Brown, however, has denied that the company has plans for a rendering plant there.

Holmes said he and the other citizens of Bowden feel it would devastate the environment and the economy of their community if a rendering plant came to the old Georgia Pacific saw mill. A Georgia Pacific official confirmed last week that the plant is for sale, but she would not say who was interested in buying it.

A rendering plant processes the entrails of dead hogs and poultry by cooking and grinding them to get the fat out. The result is then put into the feed for other hogs and poultry.

Homes said a group of about 50 neighbors plan "to fight this thing with everything we've got -- to the very end."

"The plant would be within a few hundred feet of residential areas, a few hundred yards from our churches," he added. "How would you like to be sitting in church and smell barbecued dead pig?"

County Manager Fred Eldridge said he has not received a letter from Murphy Brown Co. denying it plans to build a rendering plant, but he has received a phone call asking for a meeting.

As a result of the meeting, he said, he sent letters to the county commissioners. Commissioner Arliss Albertson said the letter from Eldridge was the first he had heard about the matter, and if the rendering plant was anything like one in Rose Hill, he would oppose it.

Commissioner Larry Howard moved to oppose a rendering plant anywhere in the county. Commissioner Reginald Wells provided a second to the motion. The vote was unanimous.

Holmes also suggested during the meeting that the county buy the abandoned Georgia Pacific plant, build a community school there and name it the Bowden Community School.

Commissioners Chairman L.S. Guy said, "Take that to the school board."

Holmes said he would.