CAFO for Small Oregon Dairies?

Oregon has rules for Oregon dairies that have a barn, CAFO, which stands for Confined Animal Feeding Operation. Until last year, Oregon exempted small dairies from rules that required costly expenditures on wastewater treatment. According to the Institute of Justice (IJ), large Oregon dairies lobbied to have that exemption removed.

Several small Oregon dairies, represented by IJ, filed suit in the Oregon District Court last week to maintain their exemption. Sarah King of Newberg, Oregon, and several plaintiffs, argue that operating two cows should not require the installation of wastewater infrastructure, installation of a holding tank, keeping daily records, and paying annual permit fees since their use of water is trivial.

I’m not sure two cows require a holding tank. Regulators should not impose costs in instances where they are not necessary and certainly not to only maintain a uniformity of cost.

IJ has a successful track record of representing a small dairy in Oregon. In 2013, they sued the Oregon Department of Agriculture over its ban on any advertising for legal raw milk sales, which violated the First Amendment. ODA agreed to stop enforcing that ban in 2014 which was eventually repealed by law in 2015.

Eric Shierman lives in Salem and is the author of We were winning when I was there.