Oakshade Dairy seeks renewal of permit to operate 03.23.2011

Written by David Green.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is accepting comments on a draft Permit to Operate (PTO) for Oakshade Dairy, LLC, located in Chesterfield Township, at 15710 County Road 14 west of Lyons.

The farm is the former Chesterfield Dairy that closed in a bankruptcy proceeding and was purchased last August by Chris Weaver of Bridgewater Dairy in Williams County and Tim den Dulk of Coopersville, Mich.

Written comments or a request for a public hearing will be received until April 15. Bill Schwaderer of the ODA’s Livestock Environmental Permitting Program said that at least 20 requests for a hearing from the public or one request from a public official are needed before a hearing would be scheduled.

Comments must be submitted to the ODA’s LEEP office at 8995 East Main St., Reynoldsburg, OH 43068.

Copies of the Oakshade Dairy draft Permit to Operate can be reviewed at the Fulton Soil and Water Conversation District, Suite B, in Wauseon. Call 419/337-9217 to make an appointment.

This draft Permit to Operate (PTO) is a renewal application for the expiring PTO that was issued by the Ohio Department of Agriculture on July 8, 2005, and was valid for five years. The PTO would also be valid for a five-year period, at which time the owner would be required to apply for a renewal permit.

Schwaderer said the facility previously faced two notices of deficiency for freeboard clearance (too much manure in a storage basin), but both problems were cleared during followup visits by ODA staff.

A notice of adjudication was issued May 15, 2009, for a manure violation, but the farm went into bankruptcy, Schwaderer said.

Faulty irrigation equipment was blamed for a manure spill in 2009 that fouled a portion of Little Bear Creek, a tributary of the River Raisin.

Schwaderer said his agency reviews the record of the new owners and he’s confident they will operate the farm safely.

“The Weavers have an excellent reputation in Ohio at Bridgewater,” he said.

The existing facility has a design capacity of 1,750 mature dairy cows, which will remain the same under the new permit. The current operation has several manure storage structures. One concrete basin has a storage capacity of 572,175 gallons of manure. Three manure storage ponds are available to store a combined 26.2 million gallons of liquid manure. One solid stacking pad can store approximately 3,700 cubic yards of separated solids for bedding. Approximately 561 days of liquid manure storage and 1,319 days of solid’s storage are provided.

A complete Manure Management Plan is provided in the draft PTO that demonstrates the use of the nutrients contained in the manure. The dairy produces approximately 17.6 million gallons of liquid manure and 412 tons of solid manure annually.

An Emergency Response Plan is also contained in the draft PTO.

Finally, an Operating Record is included in the draft Permit to Operate that includes all forms and information that must be maintained by the facility to show compliance with ODA’s rules and the permit. These records include inspection of the manure storage structures, groundwater sampling, manure characterization, land application, insect and rodent control, distribution and utilization of manure, and mortality management. These records are inspected by the department a minimum of twice annually.

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