Mega-dairies’ political influence in Salem has allowed them to push family farmers off the land, pollute Oregon’s air and water, threaten our climate, drain our water supplies and harm animal welfare.
Time and time again, Oregon has failed to improve regulations to rein in the harms of mega-dairies. In 2008, the Dairy Air Quality Task Force prepared a list of policy recommendations that would have resulted in significantly increased oversight of the industry, but Oregon legislators failed to enact a single recommendation from the task force. This inaction set the stage for one mega-dairy mess after another, including the disaster that unfolded with Lost Valley Farms.
In 2017, despite widespread public opposition, the Oregon Department of Agriculture approved the Lost Valley Farm mega-dairy to disastrous ends.
The Lost Valley Farm mega-dairy began violating its permit almost immediately after opening its doors, allowing manure pits and “mortality” storage to overflow, and forcing cows to stand in their own waste. It put our public health at risk and threatened our air and water. Oregon taxpayers paid the price for efforts by state agencies to deal with the facility’s problems. Lost Valley was a disaster — and a completely preventable one.
The approval for permits for Lost Valley was a systemic failure, revealing Oregon’s inability to properly regulate mega-dairies.
Despite this, no action has since been taken to prevent Oregonians from the harms of mega-dairies. And now, the Oregon Department of Agriculture is considering allowing a new mega-dairy, Easterday Farms, to operate on the former Lost Valley Farm site.
Easterday Farms would house nearly 30,000 cows in an area where people’s drinking water is already contaminated by Big Ag pollution. We know industrial mega-dairies are unsafe. Mega-dairies cause mega-pollution, and Oregon doesn’t need any more of them. We cannot allow Oregon to become the next hotbed for factory farm production.