Southern Cross Dairy (Suwannee Farms) liquidation and permit renewal 2019-11-25

Today I got an automated notice from FDEP about a wastewater permit for Suwannee Farms, and a WWALS member sent a picture of this auction sign saying “HUGE PRODUCE & ROW CROP FARM COMPLETE LIQUIDATION” next to a bigger sign saying Suwannee Farms. This is in Suwannee County near the Suwannee River.

[HUGE PRODUCE & ROW CROP FARM COMPLETE LIQUIDATION]

I called DeMottAuction.com and asked if the land was also for sale. They said they weren’t selling the land, only equipment. Which of course doesn’t mean that the land is not for sale; only that they aren’t selling it.

[Figure 2. Aerial of SCOE and Its Partner Farm Showing Pivots Layout]
Figure 2. Aerial of SCOE and Its Partner Farm Showing Pivots Layout

What they are selling is row crop equipment, not dairy equipment.

Auction

On DeMottAuction.com, it’s the front page auction, showing the same address as Suwannee Farms:

Where: 19620 N CR 349, O’Brien, Florida, in Suwannee County.

When: The auction is scheduled for 8:30 AM, Saturday, December 14, 2019.

What: 229-985-4565, www.demottauction.com

Click through for more information, including there are online bidding options available.

The equipment being auctioned is many tractors, two grain combines, eight grain heads, seventeen sprayers, nine supply tanks, nine planters, a motor grader, a wheel loader, and a backhoe loader, five spreaders, and a variety of harrows, cultivators, plows, and such attachments. Plus land leveling eqipment, three mowers, dump carts, power units, and “CARROT, ONION, POTATO PLANTING & HARVESTING” for potatos, carrots, and onions. But wait, there’s more: packing equipment, trucks, trucks, trailers, and “ATVs & MISCELLANEOUS”.

What’s not listed is any dairy equipment. Which I suppose explains why they may still want a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Industrial Wastewater Group 4A permit.

Whoever “they” is at the moment. Bill Gates’ investment arm bought Suwannee Farms several years ago, but rumor has it he is or has already sold off his agricultural purchases, mostly to Grimmway of California’s Central Valley.

The Suwannee County Property Appraiser shows this property as being last sold in 2015 (when Bill Gates bought it).

So I don’t know exactly what is going on here.

Does anyone have further information?

Permit Application

The automated notification I got today from FDEP’s Permitting Application Subscription Service says:

Permit: Water – Industrial Wastewater Group 4A, Feedlots W/> Than Number Of Listed Animals Permit
Project Name: SOUTHERN CROSS
Location Id: FLA470031
Location Name: Southern Cross Dairy LLC (fka: Suwanne Farms Inc)
County: Suwannee
Application Number: FLA470031-008

For further information, please contact the Northeast District permitting office in Jacksonville at (904) 256-1700

[Figure 7. Flow Diagram of Waste Management and Bio Energy System]
Figure 7. Flow Diagram of Waste Management and Bio Energy System

So I called that number, and after a while got through to someone who asked, had I looked in Oculus?

No, because the notice said call that number.

Anyway, in Oculus, https://depedms.dep.state.fl.us/Oculus/, click on PUBLIC OCULUS LOGIN.

That gets you to a Search page.
For Catalog, select wastewater.
For Search by, select Profile.
For Profile, select Permitting_Authorization

Then in the middle next to Facilty-Site ID enter FLA470031.

Then type tab (obvious, right?)

Finally, click on the Search button at the bottom.

That takes you to a Search Results page, with about ten permit applications going back to 2017.

Choose the top row, for Document Date 11-06-2019, Received Date 11-25-2019.

On that top row, in the far left column, click on the round button.

Upwards a bit and slightly to the right, where it says Operations View, click on the right arrow.

That should start a download of the permit application. It’s 129 megabytes and 103 pages, so it may take awhile to download.

I’ve also put a copy on the WWALS website.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

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