In the community, Local government

Some Nyssa residents voice concerns about flake mill’s odor, dust and lights

NYSSA – Wendy Gammel is tired of the dust.

She is weary of the big trucks that ramble down King Avenue past her house into the Agri Beef Company grain mill.

At night, the lights from the plant illuminate her house – and parts of King Avenue – like a football stadium.

“The lights are bright and the dust is horrible. It comes into the house and into the filters,” she said.

The mill opened last summer and is a joint venture between Agri Beef Company, Johnson Farms in Parma and John Hepton, a Treasure Valley cattle feed lot owner and an employee of a subsidiary of Agri Beef Company. The mill makes corn and wheat flakes for cattle at six feedlots across the Treasure Valley. The Nyssa facility can manufacture up to 1,200 tons of product a day.

Agri Beef bought the Nyssa property in 2018 at a bankruptcy auction in the wake of the collapse of Farmers Grain, a grain brokers and processor.

Gammel said she and her husband have lived on the corner of King Avenue and South Third Street for seven years. Gammel said traffic has increased “immensely” since the Agri Beef Company began production.

“They are speeding all the time. It’s scary,” she said.

Gammel was the most vocal critic of a group of residents who live along King Avenue near the facility.

Other residents recognized dust and noise issues with the plant but either declined to go on the record or voiced only mild concern.

Brent Borrows, at 407 King Avenue, said the plant “can be a little noisy.”
“It does kick up a lot of dust,” he said, but emphasized he did not have a problem with the facility.

Last week Lupe Rios was babysitting her daughter’s children and said the mill’s lights are bright.

“Why do they have to be so bright?” she said.

Rios said she doesn’t live on King Avenue but in another part of Nyssa. However, when she visited her daughter and her husband the Saturday before Easter she said there was a foul odor in the air.

“It smelled like burned rice,” she said.

Jim Maret, Nyssa city manager, said he is aware of the concerns raised by some people on King Avenue.

“We’ve talked to them (Agri Beef) about their lights. They are aware of it. They are trying to comply with the residents,” said Maret.

Police Chief Don Ballou said his office also received complaints from residents about noise, lights and smell around the facility.

He said the Emily Donner, Nyssa Police Department ordinance officer, has visited with residents and recorded their complaints.

“She has been in contact with the business to help reduce the glare (of the lights) and the sound. She’s also working with them on the corn smell,” said Ballou.

Tim Brady, Agri Beef Company director of corporate risk management, said his firm

wants to work with local residents.

“The way we do business is we want feedback and will do everything we can to make it right with the neighbors,” he said.

Brady said Agri Beef feels like it “is bringing a lot of value to the community.”

He said the firm will work to mitigate issues brought up by residents.
“There are no promises that what we do will satisfy every person but we want to be good neighbors,” he said.

He did not elaborate on what steps the company will take.

Maret said some of the houses on King Avenue are next to industrial land.

“The forefathers, when they laid out the city of Nyssa, I don’t think they anticipated a bunch of homes right up against an industrial zone,” he said.

Maret said he sympathizes with the residents on King Avenue.

“I get it. But I don’t know what the answer is other than we all work together,” he said.

Last week Gammel stood in her front yard, just a few hundred feet from the perimeter of the facility and pointed to her tulips planted in front of her house. The tulips, she said, are wilting from the dust and other impacts from the mill.

“They don’t normally wilt by now,” she said.

She glanced across the street at the mill and shook her head.

“It’s frustrating. It hasn’t helped the air quality,” said Gammel.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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