Riverkeeper & Partners Call for Investigation into Proposed Factory Farm

Photo by Paloma Ayala, with aerial support from LightHawk. Images are of Lost Valley Ranch under construction.

In a detailed letter and legal memo to Oregon state agencies, Columbia Riverkeeper and coalition partners called on regulators to investigate Lost Valley Ranch’s compliance with water pollution and business laws. The proposed Lost Valley Ranch dairy, located near Boardman, Oregon, would be the second largest factory farm in state history. Our coalition commissioned a flyover of the facility and learned construction is well-underway without critical permits designed to protect groundwater, rivers, and wetlands. Riverkeeper thanks the volunteers at Lighthawk and professional photographer and Riverkeeper Board member, Paloma Ayala, for volunteering their time to secure the photographic evidence. In addition, a big thank you to Tofurky for partnering with us in our efforts to combat the proposed factory farm.

The letter calls on the Oregon Departments of Environmental Quality and Agriculture to investigate whether Lost Valley Ranch began construction in violation of state laws designed to protect water quality and foster corporate transparency. Through public records requests, Riverkeeper and partners also uncovered a November 1, 2016, inspection notice from the Oregon Department of Agriculture identifying actions that appear to violate state water quality protection laws. To date, the state has not fined Lost Valley Ranch or issued any enforcement action.

Both the Statesman Journal and East Oregonian ran in-depth stories on our coalition’s call for an investigation.

Lost Valley Ranch would house 30,000 cows and use and store liquid manure in six main lagoons. The company proposes to spread the manure on 5,900 acres of farmland to grow feed and use remaining manure for animal bedding or off-site transfer.

Riverkeeper is working with a coalition of family farm, public health, animal welfare, and environmental groups to protect public water and air resources from factory farms. Other coalition members include: the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club; the Center for Biological Diversity; Columbia Riverkeeper; Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility; WaterWatch of Oregon; Food & Water Watch; Socially Responsible Agriculture Project; the Center for Food Safety; the Humane Society of the United States; Friends of the Columbia River Gorge; and Humane Oregon.