With CAFOs, farms have many animals -- even more waste
Concentrated farms affect water, ground safety, critics say
Jim Lynch / The Detroit News
Most of them, if not all, smell and smell bad. Some pollute Michigan's air and water and increase human health risks. One of their main byproducts is, to put it politely, excrement -- and lots of it. And for better or worse, they might be a big part of Michigan's farming future.
The practice of crowding more livestock onto fewer acres, known as concentrated animal feeding operations, has helped many Michigan farms survive and even thrive in an era when many midsize farms are being squeezed out of business.
An average Michigan farm spreads 170 cows across 340 acres, while CAFO operations have as many as 3,000 cows contained on fewer than six acres. Put that many Holsteins or hogs together, and one thing is certain, you'll get plenty of waste. The average CAFO can generate up to 38,000 gallons of animal waste a day, and that manure, opponents say, is a major threat to the environment.
Attempts to regulate these large operations have farmers and environmentalists at odds. The need to police discharges of toxic chemicals created by CAFOs has run up against the ability of farmers to do the work they've done for generations. And the failure to reach a compromise could lead to the creation of more mega-farms -- bringing with it the smells and headaches that seem to go with them. Read More
I’m not sure why the media is trying to disguise these opinion pieces as legitimate journalism but it’s getting old. This is another fine example of a reporter having an agenda against animal agriculture and using terms like “toxic”, “pollution”, and “human health risks” when describing these family run farms. The truth is that America’s family farmers are more efficient and better stewards of the land than they ever have been. Our system of food production is a role model for the rest of the world that struggle to feed themselves.