Tensions Rise in Oregon Over New Dairy Farm

County officials are concerned with pollution from a forthcoming 30,000-cow “mega dairy.”


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Dairy farm Lost Valley Ranch (LVR) is planning to replace an iconic poplar tree farm with 30,000 dairy cows in Boardman, OR. The concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO)—often referred to as a “factory farm” or, in this case, a “mega dairy”—recently obtained Morrow County permits and is currently seeking state approval before officially launching. After opening, this will be the state’s second largest dairy farm—next to Threemile Canyon Farms, which is less than two miles away. Morrow County officials (who were mandated to issue the permit as LVR met all policy requirements) penned a concerned letter to the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA), stating, “The County Court respectfully asks that the ODA, through issuance of this permit, not harm water reserves, increase groundwater contamination, or negatively impact agricultural production ….” In addition to city officials, opposition to the mega dairy comes from local Native American tribes and environmental groups, who are worried that such an operation will amount to toxic waste and air pollution. Factory farms have polluted historic waterways such as the the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, exposed residents to toxic untreated fecal matter in Duplin, North Carolina, and contributed to countless environmental and health problems for residents living near CAFOs across the country. Last month, the New York Times’ editorial board urged North Carolina residents to demand an overhaul of waste management systems of local CAFOs, particularly pork processor giant Smithfield—which quickly reopened its facilities after the breach of waste lagoons, post-Hurricane Matthew.

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