A petition with more than 1,200 signatures will be delivered Tuesday, Aug. 24, in Salem, according to Stand Up to Factory Farms.
The petition demands that Brown deny a Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) permit that’s being sought by Cole Easterday.
A permit is needed before any animals can be housed in the dairy facility, which is expected to hold about 28,000 cattle.
“A broad swath of community, environmental, animal welfare and public health organizations have raised concerns given the Easterday family’s financial distress, the outsize impact mega-dairies have on drinking water quality, climate change, and the enormous quantities of water they use,” Stand Up to Factory Farms said in a news release.
The coalition cites the Easterday application in saying the controversial proposed mega-dairy would use about “20 million gallons of water per day in the midst of a historic mega-drought and generate 128 million gallons of manure-contaminated waste water in an area with dangerously high nitrate levels in the community’s drinking water.”
The application was submitted last month to the Oregon Department of Agriculture after Cole Easterday’s father, Cody Easterday, was forced by the state agency to withdraw his own permit request.
Cody Easterday’s application had been in the permitting process for two years.
He led the family businesses until earlier this year before both Easterday Ranches and Easterday Farms declared bankrupcty in court filings.
He also faces a few lawsuits over his business dealings, along with a lengthy federal prison sentence for bilking Tyson Foods and an unnamed company out of more than $225 million in a “ghost-cattle scam.”
Since Easterday had to withdraw his application for the dairy — to be on the previous site of the troubled Lost Valley Farm — his 24-year-old son filed a new feeding operation application that is similar to his dad’s request.
The original application was no longer valid because Cody Easterday’s name had been removed from official paperwork, and his controlling interest in Easterday Dairy was transferred to Cole Easterday.
Oregon state law requires the listed applicant on a permit to be the owner or operator of the facility.
The property was purchased by Cody Easterday and Canyon Farms II LLC in April 2019 for a reported $66.7 million. The price did not include the cattle.
Easterday Dairy, which is a Washington corporation with a Pasco office, was registered in Oregon in March 2019.
Potatoes and other vegetables have been growing on the site while the Easterdays await the outcome of the permit application.
The Department of Agriculture said in July that the Boardman property has elevated levels of nitrates in both the soil and in one groundwater well.
A water quality advisory was issued for the property because testing shows soil nitrate levels could pose a risk of nitrate moving into groundwater.
The operating permit will have to undergo the usual public notice and participation period, and receive ultimate approval by the Oregon Departments of Agriculture and Environmental Quality before Cole Easterday can move forward with the dairy plans.
Stand Up to Factory Farms, in opposing the application, has pushed the Oregon Legislature to enact a moratorium on the creation of new mega-dairies and the expansion of existing operations.
The group wants policies instituted to “meaningfully protect our air, water and climate, and ensure the humane treatment of animals and the economic vitality of family farmers.”
“Representing 114,000 Oregonians who want to see these industrial dairies stopped,” the coalition’s release said, “The Stand Up to Factory Farms coalition has worked with hundreds of community members and small farmers to elevate the voices of those on the front lines of mega-dairy expansion.”