Thanks to everyone who joined us in asking Governor Kate Brown to shut down mega-dairy Lost Valley Farm. On Wednesday, the Oregon departments of Agriculture and Environmental Quality, which take their orders from the governor, took action to do just that by revoking the water quality permit the dairy needs to operate. See some good press coverage, along with a few of our photos, here. See the full order revoking the permit here. Lost Valley can challenge the order in court but we are hopeful Lost Valley will just go away and that the cows will find at least somewhat better homes.
Lost Valley Farm started operating last spring near the town of Boardman with about 10,000 cows and with plans to grow to 30,000 cows. Since then it has repeatedly violated the water quality permit it needs for the massive amounts of manure it creates. The violations included problems not just for water quality, but for animal welfare, too. Photos from state inspectors showed cows standing in liquid manure up to their knees, and Lost Valley was found in violation of its permit in part because "the trailer used for mortality storage and transport was full and leaking liquid."
We have been participating in a coalition of groups working to shut down Lost Valley and stop the expansion of mega-dairies generally - groups representing environmental, animal welfare, food safety and family farming interests. Earlier this year the state took the unusual step of going to court to force Lost Valley to stop operating, but then it backed off and settled for just a scaled down operation with some stricter conditions. Then Lost Valley started violating those terms, too. Meanwhile, the dairy's owner was arrested for soliciting prostitution and methamphetamine possession, creditors sued saying they weren't getting paid and, at the end of April, the dairy's owner filed for bankruptcy, which keeps creditors at bay while Lost Valley tries to get its house in order. Finally, last week, the state took the action to revoke the water quality permit.
Photo: some of the many cows at Lost Valley Farm in April 2018 - the day before a bankruptcy filing prevented them from being auctioned off by one of Lost Valley Farm's creditors.