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Large Dairy Farm Gets Green Light

Ohio's dairy industry will get a boost following action by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The state agency has given a green light to a huge dairy farm in Hardin County, northwest of Columbus. The approval comes despite concerns about possible environmental problems.

The Dutch-owned dairy operation planned for Hardin County will house 4500 cows and produce enough milk to fill six semi-tanker trucks each day. When completed by next spring, it will be among the 100 largest concentrated animal farms in the United States.

But, residents of Hardin County are split in their support for the big farm. And, The Ohio Farmers Union says the state should place a moratorium on large-scale farm permits. O-F-U President Joe Logan says his organization has "grave concerns about the overall suitablility" of such large-scale farms.

Logan says his group is working with a republican state senator to sponsor moratorium legislation. A spokesman for the Ohio Livestock Coalition, Dave White, says he welcomes any operation that succeeds in getting an operating permit.

White says the livestock industry is being polarized in Ohio. Farms are either becoming larger commercial producers or they're becoming a small niche producer of a specialized product. He says the number of mid-sized livestock farms is decreasing.