The company will make its case at the Environmental Review Appeals Commission hearing Jan. 18-19.
In early December, ag department assistant director Howard Wise issues an order revoking the permits, following a hearing before an independent hearing officer who recommended revocation of Ohio Fresh Eggs’ Permits to Install and Permits to Operate due to incomplete information about the farm’s owner on the original application.
By law, OFE is required to identify on the application individuals who control or have the right in any way to control or manage the farm. The Ohio Department of Agriculture said it learned that OFE’S permit applications did not disclose arrangements regarding ownership and control of OFE by Austin “Jack” DeCoster. Consequently, the department said it did not run a background check for DeCoster, which would have disclosed a substantial history of environmental noncompliance, including him being a “habitual violator” in Iowa.
In commenting about the ruling, Harry Palmer, director of operations for Ohio Fresh Eggs, said “we disagree with it. We think that their facts are wrong,” according to The Lima News. The article said the company argues that DeCoster was only involved as a financial backer and that the same information was included when the state approved the purchase of the firm, formerly Buckeye Egg, in 2004.