We cannot allow Oregon to become the next hotbed for factory farm production. We need a “time out” on any new or expanded factory farms until Oregon acts to protect its climate, communities, and special places.

Weak rules have allowed industrial factory farms to push family farmers off the land, pollute Oregon’s climate, air, and water, drain Oregon’s water resources, and threaten animal welfare.

Several Oregon mega-dairies, including one of the largest in the country, are located in Eastern Oregon near Boardman. The high-desert area sits right on the Columbia river upstream of the beloved Columbia River gorge. Groundwater in the area was already contaminated with pollution from mega-dairies, and groundwater supplies were already designated as being in “critical” condition; despite this Oregon moved ahead with permitting Lost Valley Farm. 

In the year-and-a-half that Lost Valley Farm operated, it racked up hundreds of environmental violations. The manure lagoons would overflow when it rained, allowing cow manure to overflow and contaminate soil and  groundwater. They stacked dead dairy cows in a storage container that overflowed and leaked, further contaminating soil and threatening groundwater.

The violations were so flagrant, state officials warned that the operation’s abuses could spread E. Coli and salmonella to the surrounding area. The state eventually revoked the permit for Lost Valley Farm.

But it’s not just about Lost Valley. 

The foul and inhumane practices at Lost Valley Farm are part of a larger problem. Lost Valley is not a single bad actor but an example of the inherent dangers of factory farms that are capable of causing catastrophic harms.

In the Willamette Valley, Foster Farms is seeking to expand its mega-chicken operations, right next to family farms, schools, and sensitive streams and rivers. The community has cried out to stop this expansion before it starts, but Oregon lack’s protections giving communities the right to choose whether to sacrifice their air, water, and health to factory farms. Mega-chicken operations that create massive amounts of ammonia do not belong in anyone’s backyard.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is permitting these mega-chicken facilities and considering allowing a new mega-dairy, Easterday Farms, to operate on the former Lost Valley Farm site, despite serious groundwater contamination in the area, making it a struggle to get clean drinking water for community members. State officials have clearly learned nothing from the Lost Valley Farm disaster and from other states already severely overburdened by factory farms. We know industrial factory farms are unsafe. Mega-factory farms cause mega-harms, and Oregon doesn’t need any more of them. 

Take Action to protect our state from the harmful impacts of factory farms. It’s time for a factory farm moratorium in Oregon.