Oregon values our clean water and our natural resources but mega-dairies drain and pollute our water supplies including drinking water.
Mega dairies use a lot of water. Their animal-waste management plans require crops to absorb nitrates in the waste and the crops need to be watered to grow. Mega dairies also need to irrigate crops to feed the cows. In addition, each cow drinks 30-50 gallons of water per day. Finally, mega-dairies need water for operations such as washing barns, running machinery and cooling milk. All told, a mega dairy with 30,000 cows (the intended size of Lost Valley Farm) uses approximately as much water as the City of Bend.
Mega-dairies also contribute to significant water contamination in surrounding communities. In 2018, Oregon mega-dairies produced five billion pounds of manure — 42 times the waste produced by the entire population of Portland. The sheer amount of manure that mega-dairies produce often exceeds what crops can absorb, resulting in overapplication and run-off into local waterways.