Oregon is a family farm state, and the vast majority of farms in Oregon are small or mid-sized. But, increasingly, out-of-state industrial factory farms are taking advantage of Oregon’s surprisingly lax oversight of these kinds of operations and are moving in.
The newest proposal is ‘Lost Valley Ranch’, a 30,000 head mega-dairy planned in north central Oregon near Boardman, in an area already faced with persistent groundwater pollution, livestock related air quality issues and home to the nation’s largest industrial dairy. Despite calling itself a ‘ranch’, Lost Valley is seeking a state Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) permit to house thousands of dairy cows in long buildings and store the 187 million gallons per year of manure waste these cows produce in huge lagoons.
In August, a coalition of small farm advocates, including Friends of Family Farmers, public health organizations like Physicians for Social Responsibility, and several environmental and animal welfare organizations, submitted comments in opposition to the Lost Valley Ranch proposal. Over 2300 members of the public did as well.
In September, Oregon’s Environmental Justice Task Force requested that the comment period for the CAFO water quality permit for Lost Valley Ranch be re-opened to allow for more outreach to potentially impacted communities.
In response, the Oregon Departments of Agriculture (ODA) and Environmental Quality (DEQ) re-opened the comment period, allowing the public to weigh in on the proposal until 5pm Friday, November 4. This gives the public one last chance to make their voices heard.
Click here to email comments to Wym Matthews, the CAFO Program Director for the Oregon Department of Agriculture, and Governor Kate Brown.