News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

FAFF using momentum to celebrate, move forward

Local activists hope to keep the momentum they gained after recent passage of a farm reform bill, and are both celebrating their achievements and taking their next steps.

Farmers Against Foster Farms (FAFF) is hosting a gathering from 6 to 9 p.m. July 22 at Old Silver Dollar in Scio, to celebrate Senate Bill 85, which passed the legislature June 21.

As of press time, the bill had yet to be signed by Gov. Tina Kotek (D-Portland), though she is expected to support the Democrat-backed legislation.

SB 85 caps the state’s stock water exemption at 12,000 gallons per day and created new pollution-focused restrictions for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). New restrictions including the right of counties to require barriers between industrial farms and neighboring homes, such as setbacks, berms or vegetation.

In an announcement to supporters July 8, FAFF said they want to celebrate “the tenacity that has gone into stopping the chicken operations over the last three years.”

“Let’s be in community, raise a glass to each other and celebrate what we have done together!” said the group invitation.

FAFF was formed in 2021 in response to three planned local chicken ranches: J-S Ranch near Scio, Hiday Farms near Stayton, and Evergreen Ranch near Jordan. They would have the combined capacity to generate 12.5 million broiler chickens annually for Foster Farms.

Their activities have included local community meetings and participation in a legislative workgroup in 2022 that explored the potential need for CAFO reform.

J-S Ranch received its permit to operate as a Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) in 2022 while the two others are still waiting on state and county approval. 

Evergreen Ranch applied for a CAFO permit in May of 2022 and the state is awaiting an animal waste management plan, while Hiday Farms has yet to apply.

Evergreen Ranch has also applied for a stormwater permit from the Department of Environmental Quality, and FAFF said July 8 they have hired a consultant to help contest the application. They also called on supporters to submit public comments on the application by a July 10 deadline.

FAFF also asked supporters to reach out to Linn County Commissioners and ask officials to impose the new rules in SB 85 and require pollution barriers for Evergreen Ranch. The proposed ranch would be located along Thomas Creek, and near Lourdes Elementary School and Lourdes Catholic Church, and FAFF has expressed concerns about water and air pollution.

The group said supporters should be polite, but also strongly urge immediate action from the county.

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