An estimated 30 million gallons of cow manure awaited cleanup on the former site of Lost Valley farm, a mega-dairy in Boardman, Oregon, when it was sold in February. The mess was an apt symbol of the yearlong, beleaguered tenure of what had been the state’s second largest dairy.
Lost Valley was shut down by the state earlier this year after repeated violations of environmental rules, and in the aftermath of its sale, farm and environmental advocates are urging passage of a bill that would issue a temporary moratorium on similar operations. They argue that the state has failed to consider the broader economic and environmental impact of these large-scale producers.
The bill would make Oregon the first state to take such an action.
The state’s dairy industry — a powerful economic force which accounted for more than $500 million worth of milk production in 2017 — opposes the measure. The industry has donated over $1 million to state lawmakers in the past decade.