Sunday, July 22, 2007

Another 10,540 cows in Newton County?

The July 17, 2007 "Pending CFO and CAFO Construction Applications" includes a name familiar to many Newton/Jasper County residents. Dan Brugen is the listed IDEM project manager for the NPDES General Construction application from Fair Oaks Dairy Farm, LLC owned by Michael McClosky. The application indicates the construction application is for 10,540 dairy cattle.

Here's another little interesting piece of information. Just a couple weeks ago "Newton County Enterprise" reported this story:
The Board of Zoning Appeals met last Tuesday night to discuss a Variance to Ordinance and a Special Exception. First the special exception was discussed and this pertained to the Fair Oaks Dairy LLC. The Dairy, represented by Steve Ryan during the meeting, needed a special exception to have 1,200 head of calves. Currently, they are housing about 1,200 head but it was not permitted for them to do so. The Dairy, however, did not know that they didn’t have the approval of the board and have had roughly this many calves since 2001.
Ever wonder what that number of calves and calf hutches might look like? Here's an areial view of Calf Land:

Click for larger version.

Notice how nicely those trees and bushes hide those hutches? Reminds me how they managed to hide the HUGE PILE of flyash... but I digress...

Now, just in case you missed it, let's think about this a minute.

The Dairy claimed they were unaware there was no zoning for the 1,200 calves housed there since about 2001 -- they didn't even know a Special Exception Permit was required to do so?!

According to the article, after all this time, now "they just wanted to make it right with the board and do everything legally."

Ahem. 'Nuff said, right?

We-ell... you might think by their representative's comments that they have never run a Dairy Farm of this size and nature before...

Meanwhile, the May 30 edition of The Enterprise reported that the Newton County Council held a meeting with the Commissioners. Their biggest subject was the discussion about Fair Oaks Dairy. Apparently the Dairy is in need of $14 million for their new digester.

The first digester doesn't work so well.

Here's an important quote from the above news item for taxpaying residents in this area:
The Council will not be liable for giving the Dairy money however, nor will they be responsible for paying back the money to the loan lender if the project should fall through.

A public hearing on the issuance of Variable Rate Demand Economic Development Revenue Bonds for the $14 million was to be held 9 a.m., June 8 at the Newton County Government Center, but I just found out about this recently. I'm not sure how things turned out, yet.

Just in case you didn't know, Fair Oaks received a DOE funding in 2002 for the first digester to the tune of $95,723 -- here's the details:
Fair Oaks Dairy Farm will demonstrate the feasibility and document technical and economic performance of a high rate anaerobic digestion process that can be used in dairy and swine flush systems. A state-of-the-art anaerobic digestion facility will be constructed at Fair Oaks Dairy Farm at one specific site which houses 3000 milk cows.
Was the above DOE Funding for the same digester which has failed expectations? If so, I'm guessing the so-called "demonstrate" part didn't go so well.

I won't even go into the subsidies they've received over the past 5 years for growing their own feed. Let's not go there for the moment.

But hey, we're not the only State dishing out cash for McClosky/den Dulk related farms. For example, the Ravena Farm (owned by Timothy den Dulk) in Michigan was "awarded a million dollars to build a bio-digester plant" there. According to the news article, the digester should be operational and producing power by October 2007. (link to full story)

Really, it should be no surprise to any of us when we see our taxes keep going up ...and up ...and up in Northwestern Indiana. By all accounts, the BZA is actually helping to make that happen when you consider how careless they are about trashing a Triple AAA (in my humble opinion) subdivision (which could have brought many more taxpayers into the region) by allowing yet another calf operation into the region -- to be built right on that subdivision's doorstep.

In other news, we have another Canadian visitor staying with us, this time from Ottawa, Canada. We'll be escorting him on the CAFO tour later this week. Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

First of all I'd like to tell you that Calfland may have just wanted to leave the trees there to to make it look better and to give the world cleaner oxegyen, or mabey they were making it so you wouldn't have to see what is in your opinion a ugly mess of industry. I'd also like to infrom you that there are infact digesters that do work just Fair Oaks was just making some changes on the prosess to make it quicker but it did not work on the first try. Sort of like Edison tried over 2000 before he created the light bulb and yet that helped the world increadably much.

Concerned said...

Unfortunately our governor is the key factor in all of these cafo's in Indiana. His goal was to increase pork production in Indiana by 60%, right? This is all about the dollar and whose pockets it ends up in. They are steam rolling over everyone who gets in their way. Oh yeah, Mr. Schuringa moved out of his house and sold it, I thought he said he was going to stay living there and run his cafo??? What happened with flyash mountain also?

Anonymous said...

Excerpted from a story posted in the Rensselaer Republican on August 8th:

Bill Manns requested the paving of a the road that runs in front of his house on 200 W. and 400 N. due to the amount of dust that is in the air from dairy traffic. According to Culp the dairy will be black topping north of 400 N., but will not pave the south end. In this particular district over 17 miles of blacktop was destroyed during the winter and the County only has enough money to fix 8 miles of the road this year according to Culp.

“We have over 300 miles of unblacktopped roads in Jasper County,” said Culp. “It is a shame, but we can’t do them all.”

The Commissioners denied the request at this time.