SALEM -- A dairy industry executive urged dairy farmers to support a legal defense fund for Yakima, Wash., dairies being sued for alleged violations of environmental laws.
Speaking Feb. 25 at the Oregon Dairy Farmers 2013 Convention, Jay Gordon, executive director of the Washington State Dairy Federation, said the suit threatens the continued livelihood of dairy producers everywhere through its ramifications on farm policy.
"This is not about these four families," Gordon said. "This is about the whole industry.
"What we have here is environmental groups that are trying to change policy through the court system," Gordon said. "And it is going to affect you the same whether a judge says it or Congress says it or the state Legislature says it.
"It either is going to be bad policy, or expensive policy, or more regulation," Gordon said.
Gordon said he has contacted statewide dairy organizations and large dairy cooperatives in Washington, Idaho, California and Oregon in an attempt to obtain funds to help pay lawyer fees for the dairy families' defense.
"It becomes very expensive to individually defend yourself from these cases," Gordon said.
Gordon said the industry needs to unite "to make sure that these families have a place to get a united defense and support so they are not standing there alone as individuals facing this lawsuit."