Dairyman makes sure industry’s voice is heard in Salem

Chad Allen earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science from Oregon State University, but he jokes that, considering his public activities, he might have been better served getting a political science or communications degree.

By Gail Oberst

For the Capital Press

Published on June 5, 2017 3:33PM

Chad Allen has grown to lead more than his 400 cows at Victor Dairy in Tillamook, Ore.

Gail Oberst/For the Capital Press

Chad Allen has grown to lead more than his 400 cows at Victor Dairy in Tillamook, Ore.

Chad Allen works on a new electronic device that keeps track of his cows’ health.

Gail Oberst/For the Capital Press

Chad Allen works on a new electronic device that keeps track of his cows’ health.


TILLAMOOK, Ore. — Across the pasture from the Tillamook Cheese factory is Chad Allen’s Victor Dairy, a 500-head operation co-owned by his father, George Victor Allen.

“Dad always had a love for dairying,” said Chad. In 1977, George and his father, Ben, established the Allen Dairy in Tillamook with 100 cows. Chad was younger than 2 when his family moved from San Luis Obispo to Oregon.

George also partners with Chad’s younger brother, Casey, in their C&C Dairy operation, with 300 head, located across Highway 101 from Victor Dairy.

The two brothers made the friendly split in 2008. An older brother works for CHS Farm Co-op in Tillamook, and a sister lives in Bakersfield.

Chad, 42, said he always knew he was destined to be a dairyman, but his foray into politics is an indication that he able to influence those beyond his own pastures.

Last year, as the Oregon Dairy Farmers Association president, Chad helped lead the charge on Senate Bill 1517, a pilot project in Tillamook County that would bring wetland developers and impacted landowners — especially dairies — together to collaborate on projects. It passed and is now taking shape as a coalition of people who represent wildlife, dairy, conservation and environmental interests.

Allen also testified before Oregon’s House Special Committee on Small Business Growth, suggesting ways to improve milk and environmental quality by assisting Oregon’s 240 dairies with new technology that might not be affordable to smaller dairies.

“This committee could play a significant role in helping to identify existing funding sources or appropriating new dollars in the upcoming legislative session to shore up this very small population of dairies who contributed more than $650 million to the state’s economy in 2014,” Chad said in testimony in 2016.

More recently, Allen publicly criticized Oregon House Bill 785, which would require dairy farmers to make public any use of antibiotics.

As they do for most dairy farmers, Oregon’s strict standards for confined animal feeding operations — known as CAFOs — keep him busy. Chad’s animals graze for most of the year, but are kept inside during the rainy season to keep waste runoff out of the Wilson River, which borders his property. But Chad has also worked to increase manure storage facilities and tax credits for other dairies in Tillamook, where the waste is digested and turned into methane.

In addition to the ODFA and legislative issues, Chad has been active in the Tillamook Bay Flood District, the Tillamook County Planning Commission and the Oregon Farm Bureau. George is a past president of the Tillamook County Creamery Association board.

Allen’s work to promote farming interests has earned him kudos from the Farm Bureau.

“Chad Allen represents the best of his rural community on the Oregon Coast,” said Farm Bureau President Barry Bushue. “Chad strives for collaboration when tackling complex regulatory issues, reaches out to state agencies, conservation groups and local farmers so all stakeholders can have a voice.”

Chad Allen earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science from Oregon State University, but he jokes that, considering his public activities, he might have been better served getting a political science or communications degree.

After college, he married a Tillamook woman, Adrienne, who was working at an office store where he bought his office supplies. Adrienne, too, came from a dairy family.

“I made a lot of excuses to buy paper,” he said. “I had enough paper for a year, and then I asked her out.”

The couple now has five children. The oldest girl is 11. Four boys followed; the youngest is 7 months.

Victor Dairy’s milk can be found in Tillamook County Creamery Association products.



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