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Published: Thursday, 10/12/2006

4 big dairies end attempt to conceal manure sites

COLUMBUS - Four large dairies seeking permits to build in northwest Ohio yesterday gave up their fight to conceal maps of where they plan to spread manure from their potential megafarms.

Naomi and Green dairies in Wood County as well as Hillbex and New Ijsselstein dairies in Sandusky County had filed a lawsuit in Franklin County Common Pleas Court to block the release of information that, in the past, had been provided as a matter of public record.

The suit, which included three unidentified crop farmers, claimed the release of such information would violate trade secrets.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture, which originally sided with the plaintiffs, reversed its position June 21. With the lawsuit withdrawn, the state agency can now release the information.

All four dairies are clients of Vreba-Hoff Dairy Development. The Wauseon-based company has been consulting dairy farmers from the Netherlands who have built or are planning to develop livestock facilities in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana that are large enough to be regulated as concentrated animal feeding operations.

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