True Case of Irony

“He was surprised. He figured there would be some backlash. He never dreamed it would be that bad.”

Produced by Rebecca Werner with interviews recorded by StoryCorps, a national nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.


Hold a Conversation

Can you imagine leading a conversation about this story? Where? With whom? What kinds of questions would you pose? (See How to use the questions for reflection for one approach.) Please email your questions to us or post them in the comment box for our consideration. If you use them in an actual discussion, let us know how the conversation went.


Transcript for True Case of Irony

Division Road is the marking point.  Valparaiso’s north of Division Road, and it’s ag as soon as you hit south of Division.  Farming, with tractors, corn, and soybeans doesn’t seem to affect the John Q. Public north of Division Road, and most folks don’t care.  The tractors get in the way sometimes on the road, but other than that, there’s no odors, there’s nothing that would affect them.  

We just had a big hubbub here a couple years ago that a family wanted to bring a hog operation.  The son wanted to come back into the farm, so he was trying to diversify because he didn’t have enough farm ground, so he says, “I’m going to a build a quad,” which made sense.  He was going to contract feed with Belstra Milling.  Basically, bringing his son back into agriculture.

He would’ve rather let the son come back and they just farm more, but there just physically wasn’t enough acres to support two families full-time.  He was surprised.  He figured there would be some backlash.  He never dreamed it would be that bad.  That threw the town for a loop.  

The town people and town pushed back on that pretty hard.

That really, I felt, got ugly.  The family’s children getting death threats at school…

… the signs up in Chesterton.

… that are thirty miles away.  Would never even see it.

It was like they were just following the lead with some of these maybe environmentalist groups, and things like that that were just supporting it.

There were signs in people’s yards.  You know, “We don’t want this hog, we don’t want the smell.”  You know, we all think of pigs, we all think, “Oh, it’s going to stink.”  But people are ignorant.  These facilities are much different than your grandpa’s hogs that were running around out everywhere and rooting everything up.  And that was sad that it had to be that way.  I’d say most of us in agriculture would tend to say, “You will never see a hog operation in Porter County the rest of our lives.”  

Pratt Industries right up here, just north of Valparaiso just did a huge expansion, which is great for jobs, great for growth, great for the tax sector, but now all those same people are putting signs in their yard about wanting Pratt to go away because of the smell Pratt puts off.

Well, now you can go to our beautiful Porter County fairgrounds during the Fair and smell garbage.

It’s a true case of irony right there. The pigs wouldn’t have smelled near as bad as this would’ve.