Supply chain chaos caused by COVID-19 is making milk oversupply problems even worse, yet Oregon officials consider permitting new mega-dairy.
Salem, OR – Stand Up To Factory Farms, a broad coalition of environmental, food safety, family farming, and animal welfare organizations fighting to protect Oregon from mega-dairies, calls on Governor Brown and the Oregon Department of Agriculture to protect small dairy farmers during the COVID-19 outbreak and enact a mega-dairy moratorium on new and expanding dairies.
In response, the Stand Up to Factory Farms Coalition issued the following statement:
“Today we call on Governor Brown to take swift action to protect Oregon’s small dairy farmers from the impact of COVID-19 by enacting a mega-dairy moratorium. Oregon’s small dairy farmers have struggled enough under mounting pressure from Oregon’s mega-dairies to get big or get out. Mega-dairies have been flooding the market with milk for years, contributing to Oregon losing more than a third of its licensed dairies since 1997 with an average of nine family dairy farms going out of business each month between 2002 and 2007.
Corporate consolidation of dairy processing and a shift towards mega-dairies and away from family farms have weakened our food system and resulted in an oversupply of milk. Small farmers, already struggling, are forced to dump milk while supply chain disruptions throw the market into further chaos, leaving farmers with no market while people lack food access. This is the worst possible time to add to the pressure on small farms by greenlighting more mega-dairies. We need to ensure that Oregon’s small dairy farmers are not further endangered by rebuilding our dairy market in a way that works for small farmers and is strong enough to withstand pressure from future crises. Oregon deserves a food system that prioritizes small farmers, produces healthy food for consumers, and protects our environment. Mega-dairies won’t get us there.
Yet Governor Brown and her Oregon Department of Agriculture are signaling that they will permit a new mega-dairy during this crisis. Easterday Farms would confine nearly 30,000 cows on the site of the disastrous Lost Valley Farm. Failing to learn from the Lost Valley debacle was bad enough. But allowing another mega-dairy in the midst of a crisis of low milk prices coupled with a crisis of supply chain disruptions from COVID-19 would simply be reckless. Governor Brown needs to prioritize protecting Oregon’s small dairy farmers now more than ever and immediately enact a moratorium on mega-dairies.”