JEFFERSON COUNTY, Idaho -

The Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public meeting Thursday night to determine whether Kettle Butte Dairy can expand its operations.

Kettle Butte Dairy is the only confined animal feeding operation in the county. Management is looking to increase from 5,000 animals to 18,000. P&Z officials said the operation is currently having to transport the extra dairy cows and cattle from another location in Bonneville County. The expanded permit will allow them to house all animals in one location.

The large expansion has gained the interest of surrounding cities as it could mean a need for extra employees.

"One of the things that we struggle with is employment closer to home," said City of Roberts Mayor B.J. Berlin. "We have a lot of people here that have to drive a considerable amount to work. So if it will increase employment, it would certainly be a welcomed addition to our community."

Three years ago the operation expanded from 3,000 animals to the current 5,000. According to the P&Z commission, there were no comments during that public meeting and there haven't been any complaints since.

Thursday's public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Commissioners' Room of the Jefferson County Courthouse located on 210 Courthouse Way, Rigby, Idaho.