With redistricting final, I have been thinking about Oregon’s elected officials. I hope to see new and impassioned leaders focused on mitigating climate change while supporting our communities. One way our leaders can do that is by stopping the expansion of mega-dairies in Oregon.
Mega-dairies, a type of factory farm, are neither sustainable nor good for the environment or the animals within. These facilities pollute our water, exacerbate our climate crisis, threaten the health of surrounding communities and push out smaller-scale family dairy farms. Thousands of cows are crowded together on these mega-dairies, kept from ever touching a pasture. An average of nine family dairy farms went out of business each month between 2002-2007 after Threemile Canyon Farms, one of Oregon’s largest mega-dairies, began operating.
Every level of government has the opportunity to create change. Gov. Kate Brown’s last term is now, and since she wants to be remembered as the climate change governor, she should deny the recent Easterday mega-dairy permit. Leaders in the statehouse should place an immediate moratorium on mega-dairies. Our congressional delegation must pass the Farm System Reform Act. This important legislation calls for a moratorium on the building of factory farms and provides money for a just transition from factory farms to regenerative agriculture.
Readers, I hope you will join me in urging the elected leaders in your community to repair our food system by getting away from factory farms and promoting family farms.
Sharon Roben Findling