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

Proposed local chicken ranches listed for sale

Local activists are claiming a victory after the properties for two proposed industrial-scale chicken ranches were put up for sale.

Real estate listings for Hiday Ranch, near Aumsville, and Evergreen Ranch, near Scio, were posted on Aug. 31 and Sept. 21, respectively.

Both were the subjects of proposed chichen ranches that could have each produced up to 4.5 million broiler chickens annually for Foster Farms.

The property for Hiday Ranch, at 10963 Porter Road, was purchased by Hiday Poultry Farms LLC in March 2021 for $1.15 million and is currently listed for $1.3 million. The property for Evergreen Ranch, at 43157 Thomas Drive, was purchased in January 2022 by Southeast Ag Investments LLC for $1.4 million and is currently listed for the same amount.

On Sept. 22, Scio-based Farmers Against Foster Farms (FAFF) issued a statement saying the real estate listings were “very good news for our fight.”

“We have come a long way over the last three years and, while we still have work to do, this is a moment to celebrate,” said the FAFF statement.

The group formed in March 2021 in opposition to the two ranches as well as J-S Ranch, in Jordan, on the grounds that these facilities would pollute local air and groundwater. 

They also expressed concerns that these facilities could be the start of a growing number of industrial farms in the Willamette Valley.

J-S Ranch owner Eric Simon pushed back on these arguments and said farmers like him benefit from healthy chickens and neighbors, and any potential contamination would be negligible. He said large poultry farms have operated throughout Oregon unnoticed for decades and FAFF’s concerns were baseless.

Simon received a permit from the state in 2022 to operate a confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) and is still moving forward with construction of J-S Ranch.

Evergreen Ranch owner Jason Peters applied for CAFO permit in 2022 but the application was incomplete and remains pending. No such application was submitted for Hiday Farms, though the business did receive approval from Marion County to construct 576,000 square feet of barn space.

FAFF said one reason to celebrate the sale of the properties is the preservation of a 1915 farmhouse at Hiday Farms. The structure was built on a homestead by the Porter family, who helped found Aumsville, and plans for a chichen ranch could have threatened the building.

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