Massive Chicken Operation Approved In Linn County


Photo: Getty Images

Photo: File/Getty Images

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has authorized Eric Simon, operator of J-S Ranch, to register for Oregon’s General Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) permit. Per Simon's CAFO application, he plans to operate a poultry facility holding up to 580,000 broiler chickens in Linn County.

The state approval comes after nearly two years of review, consultation, and collaboration with Simon, the public, and partner state agencies. The CAFO permit process includes a public review, hearing, and comment period. ODA extended the review and comment period on the J-S Ranch proposal in response to high interest. ODA and DEQ carefully reviewed the more than 136 comments received and made permit modifications addressing concerns for groundwater. 

Simon’s CAFO permit is subject to a two-step approval process that includes approval at the construction phase and before populating the facility with animals for its operation. Before any construction can begin, Simon must first obtain a 1200 Series Construction (1200-C) permit from DEQ, a road access permit from Linn County, and a signed water supply plan from Oregon's Water Resources Department. The 1200-C permit regulates stormwater runoff to surface waters during construction. DEQ says 34 people provided comments on the stormwater construction permit.

Before any animals arrive at the facility, several groundwater protection measures must be in place before operations begin. First, a compaction study must address concerns about the integrity of the poultry house floors, ensuring there is no transmission of nutrients and bacteria into groundwater. Static groundwater monitoring wells will also ensure that the groundwater levels remain at least 2 feet below the floor of the poultry barns. ODA will also require Simon to provide surveillance data from drinking water wells at the facility to ensure the groundwater is healthy for human consumption.

ODA will conduct several inspections throughout this facility's construction and start-up phases, ensuring compliance with the CAFO permit and additional conditions. In addition, ODA and DEQ will continually review monitoring data to ensure compliance with the permit and additional requirements. ODA inspects all permitted CAFOs generally every ten months. However, J-S Ranch will experience increased monitoring due to the other measures to protect groundwater.

Oregon law requires ODA and DEQ to consider all CAFO applications and issue permits for facilities that meet all legal requirements. Requirements include meeting Oregon's water pollution control laws and rules, a nutrient management plan, information about the facility's animal numbers, and detailed construction plans and specifications. The state reviews this information to ensure that the facility's design and operation will protect surface water and groundwater.

For more information about J-S Ranch and Oregon Poultry CAFOs please visit ODAs Poultry CAFO Information webpage. 

Source: Oregon Department of Agriculture

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