Discharge from an Idaho CAFO…
Things are changing in the ‘heartland’ as industrial farming transforms the landscape; literally and figuratively. CAFOs, or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations are gaining a stranglehold on farming across the US and it’s an issue we all should be concerned about – even if your food comes from the grocer’s freezer…
CAFO owners will frequently cite the benefits they bring to a community to offset the massive amounts of water they consume and bacteria-laden effluent they produce but the reality is quite different according to Bill Weida and John Ikerd:
As reported by the Associated Press, U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., has earmarked a bundle of money — about $250,000 — to Premium Standard Farms on the dubious premise that concentrated animal feeding operations are a boost to the rural economy. PSF plans to use the money to find ways to reduce the amount of hog poop it produces via a dewatering procedure.
I examined the economic benefits issue and quickly learned that CAFOs harm the local economy rather than help it. What Kit “Earmarks” Bond has done is the reverse of what President Barack Obama’s stimulus package is supposed to accomplish.
Retired rural economists Bill Weida and John Ikerd have separately studied rural development, and both have concluded that CAFOs do more harm than good to the rural economy.
For indicators, they cite…
You might think this is a departure from my normal fare, but it’s all related to quality of life — especially if you live in a rural area like I do:
What to do with animal poop? It’s a question that plagues organic and factory farmers alike, and in areas with lots of factory farms (also called concentrated animal-feeding operations, or CAFOs), animal manure is accused of adding high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous to nearby waterways, robbing them of oxygen and killing the fish that call them home.
Animal-farm owners have attempted to solve the problem by selling all that manure off to farmers, who can apply the nutrient-rich manure from CAFOs to their fields as fertilizer. But in doing so, the farmers introduce another problem to the beleaguered streams, according to a new study in Environmental Science & Technology—that of too many hormones.
Full story at: What Factory Farms Are Doing to Fish | Rodale News.
Our county only has about 20,000 people but thanks to the factory farms in our area, the county has a ‘poop equvalent’ of a city of 1.3 million people as cattle alone produce the effluent of 43 humans. There’s a double whammy for us here in Kewaunee County as a large part of our economy depends on sport fishing during the summer [we are the salmon and trout capital of the Great Lakes here in Algoma]. Concerned citizens need to ask if factory farms or CAFOs are killing a huge segment of the local economy [in addition to all the other damage they are doing] while lining their own pockets. Unconcerned citizens need to wake up!
“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” ~ Native American Proverb via 15 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day Every Day « Positively Positive.
Follow the ‘via’ link above if you want the 15 ways. I’m not much of a tree hugger, but I am becoming more and more concerned about the environment especially a phenomenon that affects rural folks more directly than city folks, but it affects us all the same. The issue is CAFOs…
A Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) is a term that was first coined by the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to describe animal agricultural facilities that have a potential pollution profile. Specifically, the EPA defines a CAFO as an animal feeding operation (AFO) that (a) confines animals for more than 45 days during a growing season, (b) in an area that does not produce vegetation, and (c) meets certain size thresholds. The EPA’s definition of the term “captures key elements of the transformations” observed in the animal agriculture sector over the course of the 20th century: “a production process that concentrates large numbers of animals in relatively small and confined places, and that substitutes structures and equipment (for feeding, temperature controls, and manure management) for land and labor.”
via Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Kewaunee County, Wisconsin is a paradise of sorts, but we have 17 CAFOs in our county. Although our population is only 20,000, CAFOs produce the effluent [manure] equivalent of a population of 1.3 million people. Futhermore, Wisconsin law does little to protect its citizens against these big operations. I’m celebrating Earth Day by learning more about CAFOs and their impact on my family and community…