Mercer County residents discuss concerns on proposed dairy farm - Hometownstations.com-WLIO- Lima, OH News Weather Sports

Mercer County residents discuss concerns on proposed dairy farm near Neptune

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Residents were able to voice their opinion to the Ohio Department of Agriculture about the proposed concentrated animal feeding operation. Residents were able to voice their opinion to the Ohio Department of Agriculture about the proposed concentrated animal feeding operation.
A partnership between two agriculture based families want to build a six barn, 4,500 cow operation, on an 82 acre piece of land just off of U.S. 33, west of Neptune. A partnership between two agriculture based families want to build a six barn, 4,500 cow operation, on an 82 acre piece of land just off of U.S. 33, west of Neptune.
Some that live directly around the site are concerned about the environmental impact on their water supply, air quality, and growing need for concentrated animal operations in their backyards. Some that live directly around the site are concerned about the environmental impact on their water supply, air quality, and growing need for concentrated animal operations in their backyards.

Mercer County residents had a meeting Tuesday evening to discuss a proposed dairy farm that could go in around Neptune.

A partnership between two agriculture based families want to build a six barn, 4,500 cow operation, on an 82 acre piece of land just off of U.S. 33, west of Neptune. The operation is located outside the Grand Lake Watershed, and according to the owners will be used to fulfill demand for Dannon dairy product. Residents were able to voice their opinion to the Ohio Department of Agriculture about the proposed concentrated animal feeding operation. Some that live directly around the site are concerned about the environmental impact on their water supply, air quality, and growing need for concentrated animal operations in their backyards.

"We are going to pollute the Great Lakes now. We killed our lake, now we are going to kill theirs, it’s as simple as that. We need to stop building all of these CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations). I have had 24 turkey buildings and 3 hog barns three miles from my house in the last year and half and we can not continue on this path," said Charles Wurster.

“I feel like we kind of got a rigged system that is against the people. We need more environmental oversight from the ODA (Ohio Department of Agriculture). We need to get some laws changed that regulate agriculture and we probably need to have some new leadership in all areas of government to get that done," said Maria Suhr. 

Ken McCarty, one of the partners in the operation says that the dairy will be cow focused, with ways to increase animal comfort and environmental sustainability focused, as they look to bring in an innovated way to reduce solid waste, consumption of water, and manure odor at the dairy site.

“Our family have always taken environmental sustainability incredibly seriously. The VanTilburgs, I think we all would agree, are very progressive in terms of environmental sustainability. My family undergoes above and beyond the state audits, additional third party audits, as well as additional audits we bring in to our farms to simply insure we are doing the best thing by the environment and adhering to local, state and federal environmental regulations,” commented McCarty.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture will take the comments from the meeting and written comments that are due five days from now, to determine if they will grant the permit for the new dairy operation.

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