The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) recently revoked the operating permit of Lost Valley Farms (LVF)—the state’s second-largest dairy operation—due to a number of continued violations including its inability to manage animal waste. LVF owner Greg Te Velde failed to comply with a court order to remedy a number of environmental violations, including LVR’s contamination of legally protected groundwater with manure that he allowed to seep into the soil from the thousands of cows exploited by the mega dairy. Furthermore, Tillamook County Creamery Association—which purchases milk from LVR to make cheese—plans to cancel its contract with LVF and reported that the milk it sourced from the farm contained an unacceptable amount of bacteria during 60 tests it conducted over the course of one year. Prior to the opening of the mega in 2017, Morrow County officials penned a concerned letter to the ODA describing the potential human health and environmental disaster that could ensue once LVF began operations, 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.” Similarly, a Smithfield Foods-owned North Carolina hog farm was fined $50 million and labeled a public nuisance for allowing toxic fumes and waste to affect the quality of life in nearby communities.
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