Factory Farms

The expansion of large-scale dairy operations in Oregon poses increasing risks to human health and the environment. Factory farms create colossal volumes of waste, pollute the air and water, contribute to climate change, threaten animal welfare and wildlife, and undermine the economic vitality of rural communities.

The problem

Weak laws allowed industrial mega-dairies to push family farmers off the land, pollute Oregon’s air and water, and threaten animal welfare. We cannot allow Oregon to become the next hotbed for factory farms. Columbia Riverkeeper and our coalition partners are calling for a “time out” on any new or expanded mega-dairies until Oregon acts to protect its communities and special places.

In March 2017, Oregon gave the green light for one of the largest mega-dairies in the nation: Lost Valley Farm. Lost Valley was an environmental and animal welfare disaster. State inspections documented cows standing ankle-deep in a slurry of their own waste and overflowing manure lagoons and 'mortality' boxes. The mega-dairy put drinking water for local families at risk. Regulators eventually shut down Lost Valley after thousands of people, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and our coalition called on the state to protect people's health and clean water.

Lost Valley is an example of a larger problem. The mega-dairy demonstrated the inherent dangers of factory farms that are “too big to fail” and capable of causing catastrophic harms.

How we engage 

Riverkeeper is part of a coalition of local, state and national organizations concerned about the harmful impacts of mega-dairies on Oregon’s family farms, communities, the environment and animal welfare. Learn more

Our coalition supports legislation or an executive order establishing a moratorium on new mega-dairy permits, and the expansion of existing mega-dairies, until policies are in place that protect our air, water, and climate.

Fact sheet: Oregon Mega-Dairy Moratorium

The proposed moratorium on mega-dairy permitting is a balanced, cautious approach to make sure Oregon doesn’t suffer another ecological disaster like the Lost Valley Mega-Dairy.