2007.10.17 Cecilia Conway
This letter is in response to the article, “Dairy Runs afoul of the ODA,” that appeared October 3, 2007.
Contrary to what was reported, the Ohio Department of Agriculture does not plan to pursue enforcement for the movement of manure to Chesterfield Dairy. Because the amount stored at Vreba-Hoff’s Michigan farms was about to exceed the permitted level, approximately 600,000 gallons of manure were hauled to Chesterfield Dairy. The Ohio Department of Agriculture has approved the treatment of the manure at Chesterfield Dairy, which was an agreed upon contingency plan. Chesterfield has implemented a treatment system similar to Vreba-Hoff’s, and all the manure will be processed through that system. The owners of Chesterfield Dairy did this voluntarily to help out a neighboring farm.
Your readers also should know that Vreba-Hoff intends to challenge all of the allegations the Michigan DEQ has raised through its recent correspondence to the farms. The new manure treatment system at both farms is in operation and working well. The backlog of manure that accumulated while Vreba-Hoff replaced the previous system is being reduced. The new system is processing twice the amount of manure that the dairies are producing. and it’s expected eventually that the new system will be more than able to handle all of the manure produced by the farms.
Moreover, no onsite storage structure failed, despite what your story reports. Although a concrete structure has developed a crack in one wall, the crack is not releasing manure. We have designed and will soon construct a new structure to replace the damaged one. One concrete structure was damaged while it was being cleaned and manure was being removed. Because the damage was not repairable, a new structure is under construction.
Vreba-Hoff is committed to protecting the environment by appropriately processing and distributing the organic nutrients its cows produce. The farms have invested significant amounts to make sure the best manure-handling system available is being used. We’ve done that because we want to be good neighbors and an asset to the community. Thank you for allowing me to set the record straight.– Cecilia Conway Vreba-Hoff Dairy