Salem, OR — Today, after years of advocacy by the Stand Up to Factory Farms (SUFF) coalition to encourage state legislators to protect Oregon's environment and communities from the threat of factory farms, Governor Kotek signed SB 85 into law. The bill is the first legislation in decades to reform the regulation of Oregon's factory farms.
SB 85 requires a multi-step process for water quality permitting, including a water supply plan, for new factory farms and temporarily closes an exemption allowing use of drinking water for livestock without a permit or water right. The bill also increases agency oversight of spreading factory farm waste on land where the groundwater is already contaminated with nitrates and gives authority to, but doesn't require, local governments to require setbacks when siting factory farms.
A previous version of the bill to institute a moratorium on all state permitting of new and expanding factory farms drew broad support from farmers, activists, rural residents and more than 50 organizations — the moratorium language was stripped from the bill in May.
SUFF Organizer Lilli DiPaola issued the following statement:
"Stand Up to Factory Farms is grateful to the legislators that understand the factory farm influx facing Oregon and its contribution to the climate crisis, freshwater shortages, and public health crisis in the Lower Umatilla Basin. Oregon's latest factory farm law is a small step forward in addressing these issues — it must be the first of many. SUFF is committed to continue working with our elected officials and allies to protect Oregonians, secure vibrant rural economies, and ensure a livable environment for all communities across our great state. The work is far from over. We call on state legislators to protect our values: clean air and water for all, safe and fair jobs, humane treatment of animals, and a livable climate for future generations."
For decades, factory farms have harmed Oregon's family-scale farmers and polluted the air and water of neighboring communities. SUFF first called for a moratorium on new and expanding factory farms after the disastrous Lost Valley mega-dairy was permitted to open a 30,000 cow operation near Boardman, Oregon and the existing Threemile Canyon Farms mega-dairy (permitted for up to 90,000 cows and a main supplier of Tillamook Creamery). Absent a moratorium on new and expanding operations, the son of the infamous Cody Easterday's pending application with Governor Kotek's Oregon Department of Agriculture to reopen the Lost Valley site and multiple proposals for mega-chicken farms in the Willamette Valley could be approved.
In the last few decades, consolidation of food production has concentrated power in the hands of fewer and fewer corporations. Many of today’s farms are actually large indus…