The operator of a cattle feedlot east of Interstate 84 near the Baker Valley Rest Area has applied for a permit to expand the capacity from fewer than 3,000 animals to 15,000.

Baker City Cattle Feeders LLC is at 20528 Culley Lane, about four miles north of the Baker City Airport.

John Hepton of Nampa, Idaho, operates the feedlot.

The 198.6-acre property includes a feedlot on 98.9 acres, with the remaining area used to grow crops and hay, according to a document filed with the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The average weight of the cattle at the feedlot is 750 pounds, according to the nutrient management plan for the feedlot.

The feedlot’s existing Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) permit, a large, tier 1 type, allows up to 3,499 head of cattle.

Hepton has applied for a large, tier II permit, which allows more than 3,500 head of cattle.

The Department of Agriculture issued a notice of the application on Nov. 5. The agency is accepting public comments through 5 p.m. on Dec. 10. The permit would be for five years.

Comments can be submitted by:

• Mail to Baker City Cattle Feeders-comments, ODA-CAFO Program, 635 Capitol St. N.E., Salem, OR 97301

• Fax to 503-986-4730

Hepton told the Capital Chronicle in an email that all of the manure from the cattle will be sold to local farmers.

“We have more demand for the organic nutrients in our manure than we could ever produce with the expansion,” Hepton wrote.

He said the feedlot receives recently weaned calves and feeds them through the fall, winter and into the spring to “develop replacement heifers for local farmers and ranchers.”

The animal waste management plan for the feedlot is available online at https://oda.direct/CAFO. Under “public notices,” click on “Area 6: (Eastern Oregon).”

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