Monday, May 19, 2008

What is a huge farm?

CAFOs in conflict: Huge farms increase efficiency but create environmental concerns
by Rosemary Parker Kalamazoo Gazette

Factory farms. You've gotta hate 'em.

Opponents of huge livestock operations complain they cram animals together like sardines, threaten the environment with massive quantities of waste and generate smells that could peel paint off the walls.

Concentrated-animal-feeding operations, or CAFOs. What's not to love about 'em?

Supporters call them technological models of efficiency and energy conservation that protect animals from predators and disease, manage manure wastes that were once scattered across fields and streams, and create cheap food and full-time employment.

While some state and national environmental groups and rural township governments have pressed for a moratorium on large livestock facilities, their numbers are burgeoning in this area.
If a Leonidas Township farmer's plans pass muster with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality after a hearing on Wednesday, his dairy will become the 53rd CAFO in southwestern Michigan. Throughout the state there are nearly 200 such operations for dairy cows, beef, chickens, turkeys and pigs. Read More

This is the first in a four part series about modern food production. With rising food prices, many are looking at how we can produce more. Not only do we need to produce more, but we need to do it with less land. Urban sprawl continues to be a problem in a lot of areas. With new neighbors moving out into the country, the complaints that are mentioned in this article continue to be on the rise. The attitude of some moving into ag land seems to be that of wanting their cake and eating it too. Working with, and educating our new neighbors is an important step in educating our consumers.

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