Plan For Tonopah Egg Farm Causes Stink

January 09, 2014

Hickman's Family Farms is building a new ranch, and that means at least two million chickens are moving to Tonopah, Ariz. Neighbors in the small town west of Phoenix are not pleased, and they'll be meeting with the company Thursday night to explain why they're upset. 

The Hickman family, which has operated its egg business in Arizona for decades, bought 360 acres just a few blocks from the main drag in Tonopah. The location is great for business, said owner Billy Hickman, because it's right on Interstate 10 with easy access to Phoenix and California. 

But the thought of having two million birds laying eggs in the neighborhood is repulsive to resident Linda Butler, who recalled spending time near another Hickman egg farm a few miles down the road.

"On any given day the flies are atrocious, the smell is unbearable, you cannot go in your house to try to get away from it," she said.

Butler also worries about the farm's impact on tourism. Tonopah attracts winter visitors who stay for weeks at a time. 

This new farm, which will break ground soon, will be different than the location in Arlington, Ariz., Hickman said. The chicken manure will either be enclosed on site or shipped away by truck. 

Residents said they were concerned that Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman, brother to Billy and part of the family business, also represents the town of Tonopah. Clint Hickman was appointed in March 2013, and since then has "had little to do with the day-to-day business," Billy Hickman said.