Thank you to everyone who wrote to the Linn County Commissioners and came to the meeting in Albany this week to testify.  Because of YOUR participation and efforts, we now have a one mile-set back requirement for all new large scale, industrial livestock operations from neighboring property lines in the county code of Linn County!

The County Commissioners listened, they heard you, and they acted unanimously to protect our farms and homes from these kinds of threats in the future.  This is a very big deal for Linn county and as Commissioner Sprenger said, “you all should be very proud!”
For those of you wondering if speaking up matters, this is a perfect example of why to stay engaged and get involved! We are so excited this is the first county planning decision put into place to enact SB 85 which passed this past legislative session. Let’s keep making a difference one community at a time. Congrats Linn County!

SB85 – What’s Next?

SB85 was introduced in the 2023 Legislative Session as a moratorium on new Large Tier 2 CAFO permits in the state but we were quickly told by industry opposition that there was no chance for a moratorium. We needed to come up with concrete changes that we wanted to see made to the system. Although this process was intended to be conducted during a moratorium to allow for thoughtful debate and research, we dove in and proposed changes to protect small farms. This bill represents years of work for FoFF, the Stand Up to Factory Farms Coalition and other passionate people around the state that are concerned about the industrialization of our agricultural system. We are poised to make meaningful change.  This was a step forward, but it is also the beginning of a road to a truly responsible future for Oregon Agriculture.

Read Waging Nonviolence A Major Win Against Factory Farming Points to a Powerful New Direction for the Climate Movement (featuring Alice from FoFF!) here –

Watch the Muckboots in the Capitol: Industrial Ag Regulation to learn about bill SB85 that passed in the 2023 Legislative Session and where we go from here –


What is a Factory Farm?

FoFF has been asking for a pause on the proliferation of factory farms for many years. The risks to the community food systems, processing infrastructure, contamination of our working lands, improper water use in times of growing scarcity, and community concerns made it clear that we needed to speak up for the future of farming in Oregon.

FoFF is not against all CAFOs. Some of the small farms in our networks are small and medium size CAFO permit holders. We are an organization by and for farmers, and we understand the realities of livestock production. These size designations that we discuss come from the ODA permitting structure, which you can see here. Large Tier 2 CAFO’s have huge impacts on the environment and communities and should be regulated differently.

There are a lot of nuances to how a farm is determined to require a CAFO permit. 

  1. How many animals you have.
  2. How long the animals are confined for in a prepared area (e.g. in a barn, lot, pen).
  3. How the manure and wastewater generated by the farm is stored (e.g. do you collect your manure in a tank or do you stack it in a pile).
A farm with less than: 200 dairy cows, 37,500 broiler chickens, etc could be required to have a CAFO permit if their waste management poses a risk. Farms in the small category have a large diversity of management practices and many are mostly pastured, but may fall into this category because of a portion of their management plan. 
Here are some examples of a small farm that might need to apply for a CAFO permit:
  • Many pasture based farms with several hundred animals may have to apply for a CAFO permit because they employ a technique called a “sacrifice area” which means during the rainiest part of the year (where grass isn’t growing), there is a certain portion of the pasture which is “sacrificed” to hold the animals (also sometimes a pole barn with open sides) so that the rest of the pastures are not degraded from animals stomping through while the ground is softest. 
  • Some farms with really high predator pressure bring their animals in at night, which could also trigger an evaluation for a CAFO permit because animals would be confined in a barn during the night and their waste would need to be managed.
  • ODA makes a case that any dairy farm should be evaluated for a CAFO permit because the animals are technically confined during milking. After evaluation, not everyone is required.
  • Also if a farm has a slaughter and processing facility on site, it is very likely they will need to apply for a CAFO permit. We are lucky to have some amazing pastured producers with state inspected, community oriented, poultry slaughter and processing facilities on farms. They can raise their birds 100% on pasture, but because they slaughter and process on site (as opposed to trucking their animals many hours to another facility), they have to have a CAFO permit.
So it is a nuanced discussion at a smaller scale. When it gets to the Large Tier 2 scale, the practices are widely homogenous. It is impossible to have that many animals on so little land without adhering to a total confinement model. This is why the risk is different at a larger scale and FoFF supports stricter regulation on the biggest farms in the state.