DeGroot Mega-Dairy barred from operating in Indiana

DeGroot Mega-Dairy barred from operating in Indiana

June 18, 2010 Updated Mar 25, 2008 at 10:57 AM EDT

A controversial confined cattle feeding facility in Huntington County is getting new operators, and the former owner is being barred from operating livestock facilities in Indiana. DeGroot Dairy has been the focus of state environmental investigators because of water pollution generated by their Huntington County facility.

(From Press release issued by Indiana Department of Environmental Management)

Under an agreement reached with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), Huntington County dairy owner Johannes DeGroot and DeGroot Dairy, LLC, operating in Indiana since 2001, is barred from operating livestock facilities in the State of Indiana. The Agreed Order, signed by DeGroot Dairy, LLC, and IDEM, resolves all compliance issues currently in litigation and allows for the dairy's sale and operation in compliance with strict environmental regulations.

"All Indiana livestock operations must meet their environmental responsibilities or face serious consequences," said Thomas W. Easterly, IDEM commissioner. "We have utilized the courts and worked effectively with all parties, including Johannes DeGroot, area residents, and new operators for the facility, to ensure it is managed in a way that protects area streams and the Salamonie Reservoir."

Under the agreement, DeGroot will not operate any animal feeding operation, confined feeding operation or concentrated animal feeding operation in Indiana through 2048. In addition, DeGroot agrees to sell the Huntington County dairy operation to Vreba-Hoff and allows Vreba-Hoff to take immediate responsibility for daily operations.

IDEM is working with Vreba-Hoff to ensure the facility is managed in compliance with all environmental regulations. IDEM is reviewing a new permit application for construction projects aimed at resolving compliance problems and the dairy's request for expansion. The facility will operate under the new name of Andrews Dairy, LLC. IDEM will schedule a public meeting concerning the draft permit and provide more information to the community in the coming weeks.

Vreba-Hoff immediately assumes responsibility for the farm's management. A signed purchase agreement between DeGroot and Vreba-Hoff requires the property transfer to be completed by December of 2009. Once the transfer is complete, DeGroot is also barred from ownership of any livestock operations in the State of Indiana.

This agreement resolves several pending legal proceedings involving the dairy. IDEM took legal action against this facility last year to protect state waters.

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