Final Rebuttal Statement
Uproot Meats, LLC
Final Appeal Rebuttal
In reviewing the materials submitted by the appellant it is clear to us that their motives are not to protect land or water as stated. Rather, it appears they are bound and determined to defame our business with a campaign to “Don’t Uproot Ashland.” Our small, female-owned and operated family farm offers a solution to a very serious food drought issue in southern Oregon’s EFU farmland community. Evidenced by the fact that our products are constantly sold out, with an ongoing wait list. Our satisfied CSA members and local food champions are all the proof we need that Ashland is hungry for healthy meat. Bob Dylan said it best, “money doesn’t talk, it screams.” The argument made by the appellant boasts of self-serving, self-righteous motives to protect real estate investments and unknown personal motives. We believe our application is being inappropriately jeopardized out of fear and misinformation.
From the moment of purchase of the property in 2016, and throughout the current appeals process we have welcomed and even encouraged the legal auditing processes our state and county provides. We recognize that our previous business venture, the now-retired legal cannabis grow, was not well received by our neighbors. We do not intend to minimize the obvious eyesore it has created in the community. We are actively working to repair the damage with new vegetation. We are working with local professionals such as Lomakatsi and Jackson Soils and Water Conservation to restore the soil system and the integrity of our land.
The avalanche of misinformed accusations and unfounded opinions brought forth by the appellant have been quite unsettling. Despite the communal assault and immature delivery of their message, we have listened. We have decreased our livestock production by over 50%. We have had to deal with disgruntled neighbors from day one. Even before any animals arrived on the farm, it was clear we were not welcome. The negativity we have endured has become normalized, often making us feel like we are hostages on our own property. We look forward to an unbiased, thorough, and informed examination of the issues in question by the Jackson County Planning Department and hope you will find the following information useful in your deliberations.
Please find our testimony to land-use related points supporting our application request:
We have maintained an average of five pigs on our land for the last two years, up until this last summer when we brought in a litter and farrowed a litter for the first time on site. We currently have 25 pigs. The number of pigs on site will remain under 30 during dry months and 15 during wet months.
We farmed chicken for the first time in 2018, averaging 500 birds at a time. Our chickens on site will remain at no more than 3,380 annually over an 8-month production period.
See Animal Waste Management Plan for details on new livestock capacity downsize in relationship to the environmental impact and our new sizing limitations in respect to the land’s threshold.
From the week of our final growers market, November 20, 2018, until today, February 5, 2019, we have had a total of 20 customer-related visits to the farm. That’s an average of two customers per week.
Our business does not operate as a retail farm-stand, but a CSA member model with scheduled visits of pre-purchased products.These 2-3 customer pickup per week allow members to appreciate the intimate connection they have to their food. These members want to see the work we have put into our land and witness the on-going progress of our young farm on a monthly basis. All members are encouraged to come out and tour the farm to “Meet Their Meat” at least once. Our local growers market booth and delivery service are hands down the most popular form of food connection available. The convenience is also a significant component to our business.
Winter farm pickups are expected to maintain an average of 2 customers per week. Any future expansion will be managed using delivery service by Rogue Produce as demand grows.
Restoration measures addressing historic land disturbance:
See attached pictures of this week’s Lomakatsi restoration efforts addressing burn damage, removal of unhealthy and dead oaks, shrubs, and invasive species.
See attached pictures of Ryegrass seeding efforts established on previously disrupted hillside.
We have made contact with Jackson Soils and Water Conservation and are meeting with them this week to address additional sediment runoff, erosion measures, and to strategize future land management planning. (See waterway protection measures below.)
See 02/05/19 Animal Waste Management Plan (update).
Waterway protection measures:
On January 29, 2019, we met with Superintendent of TID, Jim Simpson. Jim indicated to us that he has no issues as long as we are in compliance with the ODA and DEQ regulatory agencies. He also indicated he will not perform TID water testing or provide testing information. He shared that the TID’s only responsibility is to carry water from one point to another. TID does not guarantee the quality of water. We shared tentative details on our animal waste management plan with him. We will meet again in a few months to confirm once the waste management plan is fully in place.
We have a scheduled meeting with Jackson Soils and Water Conservation on February 7, 2019. The purpose of the meeting will be to address the potential engineering needs to create drainage in vulnerable areas where disturbance has occurred on land. These areas include the previous homesite and retired licensed cannabis grow. We expect to address fire prevention, additional protection measures of soils integrity, our roadways, and hillside drainage. We will strategize our additional seeding program, erosion buffering systems, and the drainage systems needed to protect the land and waterway systems.
After thorough research of variables in dealing with our processing wastewater options and traveling to chicken farms throughout the state last month, we found the following program to be most in line with our sustainability mission. We have volunteered to join the ODA’s Confined Animal Feeding Operation to develop our animal waste management program. Our project will make this Oregon’s debut micro-nano confined animal feeding operation. As a result, our farm will downsize the number of chicken on site to 3,380 per year and a maximum of 45 pigs per year (30 max in dry months and 15 in the wet season) over our dedicated 13-acre rotational grazing areas. This includes utilizing 2 acres of our flat acreage for the wet months. Regular soil nutrient testing will be performed by Chris Anderson, Livestock Water Quality Specialist, Area 4 with the ODA. His oversight will ensure nutrient levels are stabilized with regular audits of the farm’s soil to ensure 3rd party efforts of protection towards the health of our land and waterway systems.
We hope this evidence satisfies the County and serves as proof of the integrity and best practices of our farm.
Active community partners and supporters in the stimulation of our local economy:
Dr. Deborah Gordon
Siskiyou Vital Medicine
Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market
Valley View Orchard
Talent Food Pantry
+ Many more partnering businesses in the works.