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Commission to continue dairy SUP on Dec. 10

The Gilchrist County Commission will continue the Special Use Permit 2018-03 by Alliance Grazing Group to allow the Piedmont Farms Dairy near Trenton to improve their facilities, build three barns for their Holstein cows and keep their herd cool and more productive. Ron St John, managing partner of the Alliance Grazing Group told the Commission this is a move to provide better cow management in order to house the milking herd in cooling barns.
The Commission listened to Laura Dedenbach, planner, review the SUP 2018-03 application giving some details involving the requested changes. She presented findings and conclusions as she recommended approval of the Special Use Permit application as long as the dairy meets and operates within the guidelines.
Del Botcher, Ph.D. P.E. presented the applicant’s perspective involving the grazing dairy and how the SUP upgrades would improve the operation.
Commissioner Todd Gray asked the dairy group if Florida is a deficit state in lieu of the need of milk. Jan Henderson, Alliance Dairy manager, explained that in 2017, 11 of the 12 months, the State of Florida was at a deficit in the production of milk. The SUP 2018-03 is to improve the comfort of the cows in turn they will increase their milk production, she added.
Ron St John asked the Commission if Gilchrist County is willing to hire more people to regulate and inspect the dairy industry in order to meet these regulations.
Commissioner Gray explained that he was in favor of the Special Use Permit but he felt that Gilchrist County needed some local control of the dairy farms.
Commissioner Gray made a motion to approve SUP 2018-03 and allow Alliance Grazing Group to operate and make the improvements to their Piedmont Farm dairy. Commission chairman D Ray Harrison, Jr. relinquished the chair to support the motion with a second. The Vice Chairman called for a vote as Commissioners Harrison and Gray supported the motion and Commissioner Langford and Poitevint voted No. Commissioner Kenrick Thomas had filed a conflict of interest involving this application since he is an employee of Piedmont Farms, Inc. He is unable to be involved in the discussion or vote on this application.
Commissioner Langford asked to have the SUP 2018-03 continued until the next meeting to allow the applicant time to provide answers to detailed questions that she had. She made that motion and Commissioner Poitevint agreed as Chairman Harrison called for a vote. Commissioners Gray, Langford and Poitevint voted yes and Commissioner Harrison voted no.
Clerk of Court Todd Newton discussed with the Commission a time slot that would allow the board to hear the continuance in the December 10th, 2018 meeting. The Board will hear the continuance at 5:30 p.m.