Etcher Family Farms Sentenced for Violating Clean Water Act
DAVENPORT, IA – On February 26, 2019, Etcher Family Farms; Scott Allen Etcher, age 55; and Benjamin Allen Etcher, age 29, of New London, Iowa, were sentenced by United States District Court Judge Stephanie M. Rose after pleading guilty to Discharge of a Pollutant, announced United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum. Etcher Family Farms was sentenced to five years of organizational probation, a $50,000 fine and a $400 special assessment payable to the Crime Victims’ Fund. Conditions of probation included: the prohibition from discharging any pollutants to a water of a the United States except in compliance with a permit from the approved authority; Etcher Family Farms will establish, implement, and enforce an Environmental Compliance Plan and the organization will not seek early termination from probation until all obligations of the plea agreement are satisfied and the Environmental Compliance Plan has been fully implemented for two years; Etcher Family Farm should pay for independent laboratory analysis of samples collected by either the Iowa Department of Natural Resources or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and Etcher Family Farms will publish a public notice of the agreement and underlying facts in a national trade publication serving the concentration animal feeding operation industry.
Scott Allen Etcher was sentenced to five years of probation and a $25 special assessment payable to the Crime Victims’ Fund. Benjamin Allen McFarland was sentenced to two years of probation and a $25 special assessment payable to the Crime Victims’ Fund.
Etcher Family Farms, Scott Allen Etcher, and Benjamin Allen McFarland pleaded guilty on October 25, 2018. On or about July 22, 2015, at the Etcher Family Farms facility located in New London, McFarland negligently discharged agricultural waste pollutants or negligently caused such pollutants to be discharged. McFarland knew the substance was agricultural waste and this waste was knowingly land applied by McFarland via an umbilical hose, resulting in a discharge from a point source, a concentrated animal feeding operation. The pollutants were directly discharged and went into an unnamed tributary to Big Creek. The act of applying pollutants causing an unpermitted discharge was done under the supervision of the owner and operator of Etcher Family Farms, Scott Etcher.
This matter was investigated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.