Large egg farm eying Liberty Township


Nature Pure officials have provided plans for a proposed egg farm that will straddle Union and Logan counties. Residents in Liberty Township will hold a meeting tonight to discuss the farm.
(Photo submitted)
Officials and residents in Liberty Township are meeting tonight to talk about a potential egg farm in the community.
Nature Pure is planning an egg farm, which could eventually house more than 150,000 hens, for 1781 Township Road 143 (Rogers Road) at the southeast intersection of state Route 347. The approximately 98-acre farm will be predominantly in Liberty Township, with a small portion straddling into Perry Township in Logan County.
Community members are meeting at 7 p.m., tonight at the Liberty Township Community Center. Kevin Elder, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s (ODA) Livestock Environmental Permitting, will also be there. Elder said he was asked by Union County Engineer Jeff Stauch to attend.
“I am basically going to explain the permitting process to them and try to answer any questions,” said Elder.
He said meeting participants sent some questions ahead and he will try to answer them. He said he can speak about the process but not really about the farm specifics.
“We do not have any permit applications,” Elder said. “We don’t really have any information on what’s being proposed.”
He said that likely the farm would not need permitted.
“If it is free range, it’s like cattle, they don’t need permits,” Elder said.
That is the plan, according to Nature Pure Vice President Scott Culwell.
“The improved farm would support a free range organic layer facility that would provide 21.8 square feet of outdoor access per bird,” Culwell wrote in a letter to Liberty Township Zoning Inspector Chad Herriott.
Culwell said the farm would be built in two phases. The first phase would include three layer buildings, which would house 26,000 birds each, a manure building and a processing building for egg collection, cleaning, packaging and storage. In March he said phase one would begin in the next 12 to 18 months and would take about a year to build.
“If all goes well down the road, say three to five years, we would then consider phase two,” Culwell wrote.
Phase two would add three additional bird houses with a capacity of 26,000 birds each and another manure storage building.
Elder said that even if the farm is not free range, it would not need a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation permit until the second phase is constructed. He said anything below 82,000 birds in confinement does not need a permit.
He added that ODA does not certify a farm as organic. He said that designation would come from a consumer or production group, not the state.
Resident Sandy McBride said the purpose of tonight’s meeting will “be to see how we can stop this farm.”
She said the farm is not just bad for the neighbors, but also for Marysville.
“In addition to this farm having a detrimental affect on immediate neighbors, the farm drains into Mill Creek which is where much of Marysville’s city water originates making the construction of this facility having a long reach,” McBride said.
Culwell said Nature Pure has always been a responsible community partner.
“As we have demonstrated both in the past and currently we work well with the community and with the regulation bodies and are most interested in assisting your department in coming to a conclusion on the current property zoning with this property and proposed improvements,” Culwell wrote in his letter to Herriott.

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