One of the Pacific Northwest’s largest dairies has announced plans to close shop; Lost Valley Farm—Oregon’s second-largest dairy—will shut down and its assets will be sold by the end of March 2019.
According to local news source the Statesman Journal, bankruptcy trustee Randy Sugarman made the announcement on Wednesday of last week.
“Going forward, it will be necessary to find a new owner, one capable of obtaining any future permits and funding critical capital improvements,” said Sugarman, in that announcement.
News of the closure comes roughly eight months after the Oregon Department of Agriculture first attempted to revoke the company’s wastewater permits.
Dairy owner Greg te Velde declared bankruptcy shortly after, in April 2018, in an attempt to stave of the auction of the dairy’s cattle. Eventually, in September, a bankruptcy court appointed Sugarman as a trustee to oversee Lost Valley and two California dairies owned by te Velde—charging that drug use, pending criminal charges (including allegations of prostitution, attempted bribery, and possession of methamphetamine), and egregious overspending made the dairy owner unfit to manage the businesses. When the Statesman Journal reached out to te Velde for his thoughts, the dairyman blamed the news source’s negative coverage for the closure.
Since opening less than two years ago, with the intent of supplying milk to a nearby Tillamook Cheese factory, Lost Valley Farm has reportedly been cited for hundreds of environmental violations. The dairy was built with a complex-ableit-inadequate wastewater system, without necessities like a scale, feed shed, or hospital barn, and operated with significant worker safety issues, a lack of managerial oversight, and a series of troublesome leases, according to the Statesman Journal.
“From the onset Mr. te Velde was under-capitalized to complete this massive project and never fully appreciated the true ultimate cost to complete the dairy and supporting crop land,” said Sugarman, who has already begun the process of liquidating assets like cattle.