Cypress Grove Halts Goat Project – June 14, 2011

ARCATA – Cypress Grove Chevre has abandoned plans to install a 1,200-goat dairy on the Arcata Bottom and will look for an alternate site. The decision follows a meeting last night in which neighbors voiced multiple objections.

Below, a press release issued Tuesday afternoon:

Arcata Cheesemaker Decides Against Proposed Arcata Bottom Property

Arcata, CA – (June 15, 2011) – Humboldt County-based Cypress Grove Chevre announced today that it will no longer pursue the purchase of the 23-acre pasture west of Q Street in the Arcata Bottom to develop a new goat dairy adjacent to its existing creamery.
Cypress Grove hosted a neighborhood meeting on Monday, June 13 to share up-to-date plans with those living nearby the initially proposed site. After a brief presentation of the plan, the overall tenor of the meeting convinced Cypress Grove management to look for another property. “I'm proud of our standing in this community, not only for our cheesemaking, but as excellent neighbors,” said Mary Keehn, founder of Cypress Grove Chevre. “It's clear that many of our neighbors have deep concerns about the dairy being near their homes.”
“In the end, what spoke loudest to us was the fervor of the opposition rather than the accuracy of information being circulated,” commented Pamela Dressler, General Manager of Cypress Grove Chevre. “The reality of the situation is that land zoned "Ag General‟ that is bordered on three sides by the City of Arcata, is de facto not really viable "Ag General‟ land. We met with 100 neighbors firmly intent on stopping an otherwise legal and productive agricultural project without knowing much about it. Ultimately, this community is important to us and we‟re confident that we will find another suitable site.”
Cypress Grove still plans to build a modern, humane certified, 1,200 to 1,400 goat dairy using a proven western-European model of maintaining herds within well-ventilated and naturally lit indoor spaces while providing outdoor access for all animals. The vast majority of animal waste will be closely monitored, collected and composted with straw. This mixture will be stored in large, covered concrete bins, resulting in a final product of excellent fertilizer. The dairy will create 12 living-wage, fully-benefited jobs between the two facilities.
Cypress Grove will continue searching the area from McKinleyville to Ferndale for suitable property.
About Cypress Grove Chevre ( Cypress Grove Chevre is the leading producer of fine American goat cheese, including the top- selling American artisanal classic, Humboldt Fog. Founded in 1983 by Mary Keehn, Cypress Grove continues a tradition of innovation by introducing original American cheeses to the marketplace, such as Truffle Tremor and new Herbs de Humboldt. Based in Humboldt County, CA, where the Redwoods meet the Pacific, Cypress Grove‟s award-winning family of products can be found at fine retail outlets and restaurants across the country. Cypress Grove‟s mission is to provide its customers with an innovative and unique selection of cheeses while taking care of its employees, community, dairies and the environment.

Related posts


  1. Joan Crandell said:

    A lot of folks boo-hooing the demise of the site…did all y’all attend the informational meeting? It would have been nice to have folks who would stand up FOR the project there. Too late.

  2. Blue for You said:

    Blue Lake…better weather, goat friendly neighbors and a large, currently unused dairy.

  3. Coastal Grove Parent said:

    What a huge disappointment for the City of Arcata.

    Especially at a time when new jobs are so precious.

    Whoever prevented this great opportunity for progressive growth should be ashamed.

  4. steven said:

    this is humboldt frickin county. get used to animals ass hats. seriously, every one has to get up in arms about something. thanks. everyone here, thanks. i hate my town.

  5. Ian Ray said:

    Hum+ I believe he means boycott Tule Fog Farm because of linking the protest to possible interest by Tule Fog Farm in that parcel. The insinuation is that the protest was organized because the parcel changing hands would disrupt any plan of Tules Fog Farm leasing the parcel. Now that potential investors would think the parcel was more trouble than it was worth, it would be easier for them to move in.

    I don’t see this as logical, it sounds like conspiracy theory. Only if such a thing happened would the dots connect. Until it occurs, I will be giving them the benefit of the doubt.

  6. tony said:

    Sean Armstrong = DanCo and Tule Fog Farm.
    I call for Boycotts!

  7. Peter Damburg said:

    Sean, I’d have thought that by now you might have grown weary of embarrassing yourself and your family by continuing to spew your special brand of misery-based bullshit and self-righteous, out-of-context disinformation. It’s official, you have become a parody of yourself and the poster boy for a small and very shrill part of Arcata that is at once sad and repellent.

  8. Hum+ said:

    Actually Sean, the anger came from you and a few others who did not behave in a responsible manner towards the rest of the folks trying to engage in civilized public discourse.

    These comments came from the Arcata City Council, held last night, in regards to that meeting:

    “outright animosity”

    “standing next to someone who was just sort of yelling toward the front of the room without any regard as to who actually was speaking or what was being said”

    “too opinionated without a lot of information”

    “people jumped to fear”

    “ranting and raving with all their potential fears”

    “individuals present couldn’t be more open to what was being presented”

    “their minds were made up”

    “said too many things that were inappropriate and not true, it was sad”

    “lack of education and understanding about what was going on”

    At timeline 03:49:50 to 03:54:50, then again at 04:05:30 to 04:1050

  9. Ian Ray said:

    Good points, Lisa.

    Goats are not a listed animal with an animal unit equivalent. The only agency that lists goat equivalents is the BLM. The BLM only uses these measurements to regulate grazing on public land. BLM figures should not be used in this case considering this discussion regards private land.

    The largest dairy goat breeds for cheese purposes average 135 lbs. The AUs in this case, if they existed for goats, would be closer to 189AU ([1400*135]/1000) instead of 280.

    Animal units are a deprecated measure of feeding operation size:
    “Animal Units (AU): A unit of measurement formerly used by EPA and USDA to measure the size of animal feeding operations. An AU is equal to approximately one beef cow. Therefore, 1,000 beef cows equal 1,000 AU. There are multipliers for other types of animal feeding operations.”

    The precise definition of what is currently considered a CAFO

    The most relevant definition is:
    “The appropriate authority (i.e., State Director or Regional Administrator, or both, as specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section) may designate any AFO as a CAFO upon determining that it is a significant contributor of pollutants to waters of the United States.”

    Any livestock operation can be designated as a CAFO if they are found to be polluting or the design has a definite potential to significantly pollute.

    Oregon had a proposal to issue a CAFO permit to Fairview Farms

    The parcel in question is 6.3 acres adjacent to residential land.

    I don’t intend to say anything negative about Fairview Farms considering that they are a transitional certified organic, humane dairy goat operation. I am only using them as an example as they had to go through the CAFO permit process.

    I hope that this supplements the information about CAFOs found in publications such as wikipedia.

  10. lisa said:

    Sean keep posting, it exposes your ignorance
    Farmer, here btw.

    A CAFO is not a loafing shed. In fact a CAFO is defined ( according to USDA and EPA) as an operation with over 1000 AU without access to pasture. 1 AU=1000 lbs. 1400 goats comes to about 280 AU, so first of all you are wrong about that. Look it up, and I don’t mean wikipedia.

    CG has not helped 4 pasture based dairys open in the past 4 years. In fact, in the past 4 years only 1 new dairy has started; the others are not pasture based. Do some research. They are also failing, which is why this model is so needed.

    You are so ignorant of the dairying practices in our area yet speak as if you know something. Every single dairy here feeds their cows. All have loafing sheds or freestall barns or storm sheds.
    Go to the dairys on the bottoms or in Ferndale and see if they are stocking one cow per acre. That is a joke.

    If you have a problem with dairying then take your fight there, but this type of dairy is standard practice for exceptional herd health and milk quality.

    BTW, “access to pasture” is language from the organic standards. If it is good enough for organic, what is your problem?

  11. Ian Ray said:

    The organic chicken referenced above was less resistant to antimicrobial agents and the authors thought their data may be inconclusive.

    Antibiotic treatment seems to be the key issue here regarding bacteriological contamination.

    Manure quantity is a poor metric given that the goat manure would be sequestered and composted which kills dangerous microorganisms while the cow manure in question has been left or sprayed on the pasture.

  12. Ian Ray said:

    Wild animals as an E. coli reservoir

    Antimicrobial use in sheep associated with higher E. coli resistance

    1.5 tons of manure can be produced daily by 30 cows

    Organic cow manure less contaminated with resistant E. coli

    Organic chicken may be more contaminated with campylobacters and salmonellae

    “FW 4: c. Antibiotics may only be given for therapeutic reasons (i.e. for treatment of disease) and only under the direction of a veterinarian.”

    “Goats must not be closely confined, tethered or individually housed (see E19) except under the following conditions and even then only for the shortest period of time necessary:
    1. For the duration of any examination, routine test, blood sampling or treatment/operation carried out for veterinary purposes;
    2. While they are being fed;
    3. For the purpose of milking, marking, washing or weighing, vaccination, or dipping;
    4. While in fostering or kidding pens;
    5. While an accommodation is being cleaned; or
    6. While they are awaiting loading for transportation.
    7. While they are awaiting reproductive procedures, such as artificial insemination servicing”

    Are oft-tethered goats visible from the road perpetually falling into one of these categories… or is this practice inhumane?

  13. Ian Ray said:

    Sean Armstrong, antibiotic-resistant, Shiga-proucing E. coli has been linked in some sholarly articles to large livestock herds being fed antibiotics like vitamins.

    The proposed barn was to be certified humane which prohinits the haphhazard use of antibiotics on milking animals.

    There are studies which show that the three killer strains of E. coli are present in similar frequencies among ruminants, organic or not.

    I would link to all of this information directly, but you can use google as well as you instruct us to.

  14. Sean Armstrong said:

    I can see the anger in these posts, and I understand–I’ve been working affordable housing projects through the City of Arcata, the County, and small towns across northern California. You might recall I was the proponent of the last project this neighborhood beat, Creek Side Homes on the Eel River Sawmills brownfield on Foster and Q.

    I’m guessing none of the respondents are farmers. Could be wrong. But a little knowledge is required to understand distinctions in food production. The land Cypress Grove almost bought has been an organic pasture for organic dairy heifers for many years now. That’s viable ag, right? What was proposed was a “loafing barn”, which environmental regulators call a feed lot with a roof, or a CAFO. Look it up on Wikipedia. From there you can find the countless cases of E. coli and salmonella poisoning. You’ll learn about what happens to communities down wind from a factory producing supergerms, the children who spend months in the hospital on dialysis while their parents pray they will recover. This isn’t speculation, it’s well documented fact. Every couple of months there’s another food poisoning from factory farm supergerms–their feces is spread as “fertilizer” on food crops and little kids and old people die.

    Check out the 75 E.coli cases from the 2002 Lane County, Oregon, Fair–the goat and sheep barn had fecal dust with a E.coli supergerm bred in factory farms. The immediate neighbor to the Q St. feedlot and dairy proposal was part of the team of Health officials that discovered the cause. We knew our facts. Cypress Grove didn’t. Did you know they were going to produce 7 tons of fecal compost every day (10lbs/goat in milk)? Did you know the water table in the field was inches from the surface, and everyone on Iverson has sump pumps to drain their houses after rain storms? You tell me how they were going to engineer a leach field that didn’t contaminate the groundwater with fecal coliform.

    The Arcata Bottoms can support 5 goats per acre before they eat the grass down to the roots and turn the land to mud or dust, depending on the season. They were proposing 1400 goats (more after the next planned expansion, according to the architect), which takes 280 acres of land if you want to keep the land in pasture. Cypress Grove said they goats “would have access to the outdoors”, which is not the same as pasture. That’s just misleading information, as any farmer can tell you. Go ask another farmer, if you don’t trust me. They’ll tell you the Bottoms can support one “animal unit” per acre, which is a cow and calf, or 5 goats. You’re all internet savvy, go look up “animal unit conversion” and do the math yourself.

    Feedlots suck. Organic pasture-based farmers can make more on that land than Cypress Grove. They should go buy some cheap brownfield industrial land for their pasture-free feedlot.

    And there’s another choice–they could have proposed another pasture-based dairy, like the other four they’ve helped open in the last five years. It didn’t have to be a feed lot with a roof. It’s sad all around that this is what they wanted to do with their resources.

  15. Joel Mielke said:

    The “fervor of the opposition” seemed disproportionate to the Cypress Grove proposal.

  16. Hum+ said:

    To The Arcata Bottom residents:

    You kept repeatedly referring to the fact that this goat dairy would be created in your backyards. No, it wouldn’t have been. The farmland bordering your properties is not in your backyards. In fact, that property belongs to someone else. Someone that you hope will maintain it as a park, not a public park, but a private park that hardly anyone can visit and where you can gaze out on it’s bucolic vistas of a few cows, and as Carol McFarland said, “rainbows” from the mist of sprinklers after the cows had departed.

    Such a rosy picture of idyllic perfection and far removed from the reality of true agricultural production.

    I now wish for you a blessing of a thousand homes to grace your view.

    Oh, that’s right, only a few hundred can fit on that parcel comfortably.

  17. Your Loss said:

    A huge loss for the City of Arcata and for niche manufacturing and agriculture in Humboldt County.

    A huge win for the select few that chose to purchase property near agriculture, then disallow agriculture! How many in the room at the neighborhood meeting were conservative, private property rights advocates? I would estimate about half. Typically these folks tout,”if you own land, you should be able to do with it what you want”. But NOT when it affects them!! Hypocritical.

    Preserving farmland is a delicate dance. You have to use it to preserve it! I must admit that I will chuckle when those neighbors lose their pastoral views to a subdivision. They have now made farming on that property nonviable.

    If folks would take the time to listen instead of created their own stories and relying on rumors from their neighbors, perhaps a rational discussion could commence.

    Shame on your narrow, selfish vision Arcata Bottom residents.

  18. lisa said:

    “Creating cheese requires that the female animal be kept pregnant constantly.”
    So not only are you ignorant but you are an idiot. Obviously you have to go back to Biology 101.

  19. trav said:

    This really is a loss for Arcata, there are too many people operating on assumptions and not facts. What a beautiful vertically integrated business model Cypress Grove was proposing. No transport carbon foot print…we really have turned into a bunch of hippie-crits.

    Now whats left when they and other businesses leave the area, we have Ag. land that cant be farmed. We have brown fields that cant be cleaned up and developed into affordable housing. Commercial buildings sit empty….

  20. Ian Ray said:

    “Yay,” as anothrr canvas-shoe wearing person with a plant-based diet, I don’t appreciate advocacy based on lies.

    Yes, there is some amount of bacteria, pus, blood, skin, and other naturally-occuring byproducts in milk. But, no, chocolate milk was not invented to hide blood color, that is absurd.

    Some adults drink human breast milk. There is even a brand of French cheese made from human breast milk. I don’t see anything especially wrong with that, are we not still humans after weaning?

    Goats generally don’t need breeding restraint unless they are artificially inseminated. Goats are rather “horny” livestock. If any restraint is needed for natural breeding, it is to keep the does away from the buck.

    Industry claims about calcium are overblown as is the popular idea that the only good natural protein sources are from flesh.

    Is yours caps lock broken? If not, you should be aware that all caps is hard to read due to lack of ascenders and descenders.

    I hope you don’t seriously think anyone will “go vegan” from reading exaggerations. Anyone who would may end up what I call a “semester vegetarian” where they are grossed out enough to change their diet for a few months before forgetting about the whole thing.

    As for goats, let’s be practical. Animal product exports bring money into our county. Goats are a relatively low-impact source of animal products. Supporting economic growth doesn’t have to be an emotional issue or reflect on your personal life choices.

  21. yay said:

    I completely agree that better goats than apartments and townhouse in that area. But the problem wasn’t goat dairy or no goat dairy but rather the AMOUNT of goats they wanted to keep there.

    1,200! I use to live next to the Cypress Grove Dairy farm and walk by those fields they want to use everyday. It’s NOT that much space! That’s way too many goats.

    It would be totally fine if they kept maybe 200 or less goats there instead.

    On another note, GO VEGAN instead and stop buying cheese:

    – Do you know why chocolate milk was invited? To hide the red from blood that was coming out of cow’s utters into the milk in big dairy operations.

    -Humans are the only ones who drink milk after their baby years.

    – Many people can’t process lactose anyways

    – Breast pus goes in to milk. Especially in big operations.

    – If you wouldn’t drink human female breast milk, why are you drinking/eating a goats or a cows?

    – It’s not fancy and’s baby food for baby goats.

    – Creating cheese requires that the female animal be kept pregnant constantly. Often RAPE RACKS are used to artificially inseminate the animal. Yes they actually call them that.

    -Without dairy you don’t get constipated. I poop as soon as I sit down too and I do it 4 times a day!

    – AND..despite what the dairy industry tells you, milk isn’t healthy. You can be much healthier with out it. BONES NEED MORE THAN CALCIUM AND CALCIUM DOESNT JUST COME FROM MILK.

  22. copyeding girl said:

    TYPO: we’re confident that we will FIND another suitable site

  23. righttofarm said:

    Humboldt County is a ‘right to farm’ county.

    “…living next to a pasture to a living next to a giant dairy complex…”

    Do you think ‘pasture’ is just another word for ‘lawn’?
    NO! Pasture is FEED for animals!!

    Humboldt County is a ‘right to farm’ county, except for the ‘peoples republic of arcata’.

  24. Robert Benson said:

    I know it’s cheesy, but this really gets my goat.

  25. Ian Ray said:

    Nathan, many of us live near medium-sized barns and pastures. Most people will tell you that odor and noise are worse when the animals are always pastured. Unless the livestock in question are special, I suspect noise and odor are features shared by any pasture.

    I realize this is about the magnitude of noise and odor. It seems like barns are an effective method of containing that noise and odor problems. Again, that is unless it is a special barn with no walls, floor, or roof.

    It would be a shame if the issue of the future of agriculture is not seriously considered by the people who ferverently fought to preserve the devil that they knew, so to speak. What is next and how can people cooperate for future development? I suspect most people will now abandon thinking about any of this now that the immediate drama is over.

  26. Deb said:

    I hope they like the apartments the county will shoehorn in there. I’ll take goats over apartments and townhouses any day.

  27. sandee said:

    Thank you Cypress Grove for listening to your neighbors!!!

  28. Nathan said:

    But Mark… what if it were your backyard? Put yourself in their shoes… from living next to a pasture to a living next to a giant dairy complex.

Comments are closed.