Proposed farm expansion causes conflict among neighbors
Uproot Meats has been raising livestock on a hillside in Ashland since 2016.
Their mission is to keep meat local, and while they raise livestock of their own, their proposed expansion would allow local backyard farmers to bring in their chickens for slaughter.
Some neighbors take issue with the move.
"Nobody's saying what they're wanting to do isn't a great thing. It sounds like something that Ashland could really promote," says Denise Krause, a neighbor. "The problem is where they're trying to do it, and so how it could adversely affect so many other people."
Uproot Meats is located on a steep hillside just above the Talent Irrigation District's waterway, something Krause worries could lead to contamination if their processing increases.
But Uproot Meats says the hillside location is central to their mission of quality raised meat.
"The specific breeds that we select are heritage pigs that are historically raised on hillsides in oak-woodland meadow, as you see behind us. And so the relationship between the heritage breeds that we've selected and these hillsides are really important and a big fundamental piece to the quality that we produce in our meats," says Krista Vegter, co-owner of Uproot Meats.
Vegter says they take precautions to keep a clean operation and monitor the land and water regularly. Vegter also says they're working with local groups to prevent erosion.
Krause says their proposal sounds good on paper, but still worries and wants to be proactive, fearing their land and water is at stake.
"We don't want to wait until there's contamination in the water supply and then say 'oh!' you know, they can go move somewhere else and do their business, and we're all left with the issues," Krause says.
Krause and some other neighbors plan on appealing the expansion.
Uproot Meats is still in the early phases of approval, but they expressed a commitment to being good stewards of the land and following all regulations as the process moves forward.