REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Agriculture issued four final permits to install and nine final permits to operate to Ohio Fresh Eggs for the Croton Egg Farm facilities in Licking County, Ohio.
In reviewing these permits, the ODA must review the environmental compliance history of the applicant’s principal owners and operators.
Scrutinized. “Be assured that my staff and I closely scrutinized the compliance history and any violations for the principals involved in Ohio Fresh Eggs,” said Fred Dailey, state agriculture director.
“Some have implied that even the smallest of past violations of environmental law would be cause for denial of these permits,” Dailey said.
“That is a misreading of the law. Their compliance history, while not perfect, indicates a willingness to act responsibly. I expect their future operation to do the same.”
Owned, operated. Ohio Fresh Eggs is owned and operated by Ohio Ag Investors LLC (owned by Don Hershey) and by Hillandale Farms Inc. (owned by Orland Bethel).
The final permits are for the Croton Egg Farm, which includes four layer sites, four pullet sites, and a hatchery and breeder pullet site.
“Some have also pointed to past business dealings between Mr. Hershey and Mr. Pohlmann and implied that granting these permits would result in a change in name only for these facilities,” Dailey said.
“There is no credible evidence to support this.”
Barn descriptions. The four layer sites have a total of 64 barns. Ohio Fresh Eggs will remodel these barns, and after renovations they will stock up to 5.6 million laying hens, which is the total capacity specified in their permits.
As part of the remodeling, Ohio Fresh Eggs will add two manure storage buildings at each of the four layer sites in order to maintain dry manure storage that is separate from flock housing.
The four permits to install are for these manure storage buildings.
The four pullet sites at the Croton Egg Farm have 21 barns total. The pullet sites currently house 1,096,000 pullets.
The hatchery consists of five laying barns with 118,250 birds.
The breeder pullet site consists of two buildings that house a total of 50,000 birds.
Operation. Ohio Fresh Eggs was also issued final permits to operate for all nine of the Croton Egg Farm sites.
The operating permits are drafted to include plans for manure management, insect and rodent control, mortality management, and emergency response.
The final permits can be appealed within 30 days to the Environmental Review Appeals Commission, 309 S. Fourth St., Room 222, Columbus, Ohio 43215.
A copy of the appeal must also be forwarded to the director of agriculture within three days of filing the appeal.
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