Oregon’s Lost Valley mega-dairy has been a spectacular mess since the day it opened its doors. Cows stand ankle-deep in a slurry of their own waste. Dumpsters of dead cows and pits of manure are so full they’ve overflowed. The factory farm’s violations have put drinking water for local families at risk. And on top of that, recent reports show that Lost Valley doesn’t even have enough water to provide working restrooms to its employees.
Lost Valley Farm is the second-largest mega-dairy factory farm in Oregon. It’s permitted for 30,000 cows (yes, thirty THOUSAND cows). We fought this proposal from the first day it was proposed. It’s located just down the road from another even larger mega-dairy---Threemile Canyon Farms, which has 70,000 cows. Both factory farms are located in a groundwater protection area---meaning it already has polluted groundwater, further calling the state's approval of Lost Valley into question. And Lost Valley never secured the water rights necessary to operate in a responsible manner. It’s been a mismanaged nightmare from the start.
Oregonians submitted more than 4,000 comments during the original permitting process for Lost Valley. And nearly all of them were in opposition to the dairy. Governor Brown should have never allowed the facility to be built in the first place, but she didn’t listen. It quickly became clear that Lost Valley could not operate without threatening public health, animal welfare and the environment.
A year later, Lost Valley has amassed a long list of permit violations and has ignored warnings from state regulators. It is the poster child of a “bad actor.” But while Lost Valley is an extreme case, it is not alone; there have been manure spills and violations by mega-dairies across Oregon over the years. And allowing Lost Valley to stay in business sends a message that all factory farms can pollute Oregon without consequence.
So - rather than wait for the state to act, we joined with more than a dozen coalition partners to again call on Governor Kate Brown to do the right thing. Food & Water Watch members, along with members of partner organizations, generated over 3,000 emails to Gov. Brown calling on her to shut the mega-dairy down once and for all.
And in a historic push against Big Ag - WE WON! On Wednesday, June 27th, Oregon’s Department of Agriculture and Department of Environmental Quality revoked Lost Valley Farm’s CAFO permit. Thanks to everyday Oregonians, we will shut down Lost Valley for good, and we will make sure Governor Brown doesn’t allow another mega-dairy to open up shop in its place. And we won’t stop there.