Magic Valley Dairy Center of Animal Abuse Controversy Sold
HANSEN, Idaho (KTVB)-- A local dairy farm that caught a lot of heat for animal abuse issues two years ago has a new owner, but already that owner is being publicly scrutinized. Bettencourt Dry Creek Dairy in the Magic Valley was a farm that was the subject of an undercover video by an animal activist group, Mercy for Animals. That video showed employees abusing cows. KTVB confirmed the name of the new owner is John W. Glessner, through the Department of Agriculture due to permit changes at the farm.
According to the Department, Glessner filed milk permit papers three weeks ago, effectively indicating a change in ownership. Mercy For Animals and the Twin Falls Times-News say Glessner has a questionable past when it comes to farming. KTVB looked into those issues allegedly associated with the new owner. First, articles indicate the new dairy owner is the same John Glessner who's previously been involved with Austin "Jack" DeCoster, a farm owner who's drawn criticism in other states. DeCoster is a man who has been named by the state of Iowa as a habitual offender for violating environmental laws, and accused in Ohio of hiding behind other farmers to open new farms when he wasn't legally supposed to.
According to Associated Press news articles from Iowa, a John Glessner worked closely with DeCoster, and had some complicated business ties to DeCoster's Wright County Egg, a producer that recalled a half billion eggs in 2010 due to salmonella contamination.
KTVB found federal court documents saying a John W. Glessner and his wife owned a company that provided hundreds of workers to DeCoster, with dozens of them found to be illegally in the country. Bettencourt Dairy executives declined to comment on the sale or anything about the farm's new owner.