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An infamous name in US agriculture. He founded DeCoster Farms, which raises hogs and pultry in Iowa and Maine. He is a self made millionaire, starting with only a small egg producing farm (and several million in subsidies.) The reason for his infamy is his horrible, horrible track record with environmental laws.

In May of 1997, DeCoster Farms agreed to a settlement with The US Department of Labor in regards to OSHA and wage violations. In July of 1999, the Iowa Supreme Court let stand a $59,000 civil penalty for gross negligence relating to the waste lagoons and manure disposal at one of his pork facilities. On June 15th, 2000, DeCoster was named a "habitual violator" by the state of Iowa, which carried with it a $150,000 civil penalty. It also increases the fines he could face for additional violations and "prohibits any new construction of confinement feeding operations."* On top of all this, he recieved over $15 million in "corporate welfare" (agricultural subsidies) between 1987 and 1996.**

Jack DeCoster has earned a special kind of disgust in my mind. Allow me to explain. I live in Iowa City, IA. Our drinking water, which comes from the Iowa River, is simply awful. DeCoster Farms has routinely polluted tributaries to the Iowa River. While Decoster's pig shit is certainly not the only reason my tap water is all but undrinkable, it is one of the reasons.

* - http://www.state.ia.us/government/ag/Decoster-settlement-release-6-15-00.htm
** - http://www.sierraclub.org/factoryfarms/report99/decoster.asp

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