Larger dairies would pay more under

state fee schedule

By MITCH LIES

Capital Press

SALEM -- The Oregon Department of Agriculture wants to increase permit fees for confined animal feeding operations and adopt a tiered schedule so larger CAFOs pay more.

In the department's 2011-13 budget proposal, small dairies of fewer than 200 mature cows would pay $100 a year; medium sized CAFOs of 200 to 699 mature cows would pay $200; and large CAFOs of 700 or more mature cows would pay $300.

The tiered fee schedule also would apply to CAFOs other than dairies.

The department also is proposing to ask lawmakers for the authority to charge fees for follow-up inspections.

"It is fair to say there are mixed reviews in the CAFO community about this concept of having people pay for follow-up inspections," ODA Deputy Director Lisa Hanson said.

The department regularly conducts follow-up inspections where violations occur.

The department has industry support for its proposal to raise permit fees, Hanson said.

"I feel confident we have broad support in terms of the tiered schedule," she said.

Currently CAFOs pay $25 for an annual permit, generating about $14,000 a year for the department. The new fee is expected to generate in the range of $150,000 a year.

The fee increase would shift a significant portion of the program's funding from general funds to fees, Hanson said, and allow the department to maintain its current service levels.

"Given the current budget situation, with general fund programs, there is concern about being able to maintain general fund services," she said.

"This is a service permittees value, and they would like to maintain the current service levels," Hanson said.

Hanson said the department isn't budgeting for increased revenue from the follow-up inspection fees.

Nor has the department decided what or how it will charge the fees, she said. Other agencies that do similar inspections charge $75 an hour, Hanson said.

"We've heard it from some places within the industry that they would like to see violators pick up more of the bill," Hanson said. "(The follow-up fee) really does put more of the cost burden where the work is generated."

But, she said, "it would take a good deal of work with the CAFO advisory committee and the stakeholders to determine the factors of when and how this fee would be charged."

Oregon is home to approximately 560 CAFOs.

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