According to the EPA, medium-sized AFOs confine between 750 and 2,499 hogs weighing over 55 pounds, while large AFOs confine 2,500 or more hogs weighing over 55 pounds. Instead, companies reap profits without concern for their impact on the environment, and rural Iowans, hungry for jobs, go along, he said. whether that's next to housing developments, sinkholes or trout streams,", Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. With truckers, manure application workers, farm managers and other contracted services, the number grows to 7,464 workers, earning close to $500 million annually. "It's an appalling number of factory farms that could be on Iowa’s landscape," Blair said. He sees big corporations buying land to put up hog and other confinements, without connections to the local communities that he believes would make them operate more responsibly. "The expansion we’re seeing in communities across Iowa is massive," said Erica Blair, an organizer for Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a grassroots group based in Des Moines that is fighting confinement expansion. Iowa also has a record number of impaired waterways. The Iowa Falls-based company produces many of the master matrices and manure management plans for CAFO applications in Iowa and helps steer them through the DNR process. Maccoux MJ, … All Rights Reserved. EWG downloaded these data from the Iowa Geodata website on July 30, 2019. EWG tracked the growth of these facilities over time, using seven years of high-resolution aerial photography and satellite imagery from 1980 to 2019. These large operations make up a third of all operations and two-thirds of all livestock in Iowa. Iowa’s more than 20 million hogs confined in thousands of factory farms produce nearly ten billion gallons of toxic manure every year. In total, EWG successfully dated 3,936 large AFOs in Iowa – 99.5 percent of the total number of operations. We trust that the information provided in this guide They point out that the number of Iowa livestock farms called concentrated animal feeding operations or CAFOs has grown to more than 10,000 from 722 in 2001. The report also documents elevated levels of nitrate at or above 5 milligrams per liter – the level linked to an increased risk of cancer – in more than 12,000 household wells. Iowa CCI puts Iowa Select's expansion statewide around 20 new facilities this year. The number of large concentrated animal feeding operations, or large CAFOs, in Iowa increased nearly fivefold in the past two decades, a new study from Environmental Working Group reveals, with almost all of the growth from big hog-feeding operations. In many states, separation distances from CAFOs to residences, public areas, and public buildings have been established to protect human health via the air and water. Kim Reynolds' spokeswoman, said the livestock industry is important to rural Iowa's economy. Some grim news, indeed: Iowa leads (!) Copyright © 2020. He is co-founder of the Iowa Policy Project, an Iowa City-based nonprofit group that offers research on environmental, economic, energy and tax policies, which released the report. A Rodger Routh video “Last year a proposal was put forth in the Iowa legislature to increase oversight of CAFOs and to place a moratorium or ban on construction of new CAFOs and expansion of existing CAFOs. To produce this report, EWG used geospatial data on permitted animal feeding operations recorded by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. "Just because it's legal, doesn't mean it's good," said Tinker, adding that it unnecessarily creates livestock opponents. "I try to be an excellent neighbor, and I ask that they do the same," said Hosek, who later added that she and her husband chose Rockwell City because they wanted to support rural Iowa. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources, or DNR, maintains a database of animal feeding operations, or AFOs, permitted in the state. "We don't have a handle on what's happening on Iowa's landscape.". The public health risks of CAFOs posed by Environmental Working Group. In animal husbandry, a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO), as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is an intensive animal feeding operation (AFO) in which over 1000 animal units are confined for over 45 days a year. Iowa Select Farms has one of the fastest-growing Cafo operations in the country, with 800 farms spread through half of the counties in Iowa. "I don't want to live next to something that could contaminate my well," said Hosek, adding that a field next to her home will be sprayed with manure from the project. Iowa has more than 5,400 pig farms. 1990s – aerial orthophotography: 1-meter horizontal resolution. At the time, manure was … For example, Iowa, being by far one of the most densely-concentrated centers of factory farming in the country, had over 54 million egg-laying hens in 2007 up from 19 million in 1997. CAFOs Hurt Farmers and Rural Economies. Blair blames new pork processing plants for industry growth. Two Stanford University professors published research this week in the journal Nature Sustainability, saying there’s an easy way to … We will still see growth if … Contact Us | There are currently 17 towns in Dallas County and 28 CAFOs. A Rodger Routh video “Last year a proposal was put forth in the Iowa legislature to increase oversight of CAFOs and to place a moratorium or ban on construction of new CAFOs and expansion of existing CAFOs. A recent report from EWG and the Iowa Environmental Council shows that many households whose drinking water comes from private wells are struggling with contamination from nitrate and bacteria. In total, more than 60 percent of the animal waste produced by the largest CAFOs in Iowa comes from hogs. 2002 – color infrared aerial photography: 1-meter horizontal resolution. But it wasn't always so. CAFOs can also be the source of greenhouse gases, which contribute to global climate change. CAFO sites under 500 animal units included on this map were independently discovered by JFAN. Please type below a 5-digit Zip Code, then click on "SEARCH", the level linked to an increased risk of cancer, keep nitrogen out of their drinking water, https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/plantsanimals/livestock/afo/, https://www.lawserver.com/law/state/iowa/ia-code/iowa_code_459-102, EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™, Iowa’s Private Wells Contaminated by Nitrate and Bacteria, America’s Nitrate Habit is Costly and Dangerous. * Nearly one-third of the nation’s hogs are raised in Iowa. 2019 – Planet (PlanetScope) satellite imagery: 3-meter horizontal resolution. However, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has documented a three-fold increase in “impairments” of water bodies in Iowa between 2002 and 2012, years when CAFO were rapidly replacing independent Iowa family hog farms.xiii Water pollution isn't just an environmental issue. EWG found that in 1990, Iowa had 789 large CAFOs – those housing 1,000 or more animal units – swelling to 3,963 in 2019. Swine and other livestock raised in Iowa’s large CAFOs now produce 68 billion pounds of manure a year – conservatively, 68 times the total amount of fecal waste produced each year by the state’s 3.15 million residents. Thiele, an independent producer whose business lets the partners share duties, risks and costs, feels lucky to be his own boss, able to take time off for a sick child or school event. But the state’s progress reports have not been encouraging. We are calling for a moratorium on the construction and expansion of medium and large AFOs and CAFOs in Iowa, which are the focus of this fact sheet. Iowa livestock producers would be unable to build 30,000 more facilities, given the state's separation requirements, he said. Nineteen facilities could not be located on any imagery from any of the time stamps, and were therefore removed from the dataset. "I don't know why we'd want to limit future generations," Thiele said, adding that farmers need the fertilizer. Even though most of the profits go to outside corporate investors, local CAFO owners may reap significant short-run economic benefits. "Right now, we have no control whatsoever.". 2011 – NAIP aerial photography: 1-meter horizontal resolution. The public health risks of CAFOs posed by To estimate animal waste output for a year, the DNR data were used to identify the large operations housing 1,000 or more animal units and the corresponding animal type. Each plant will process about 10,000 hogs daily — or close to 3 million pigs annually. At a Friday night public hearing in Rockwell City, about 150 residents debated Iowa Select's proposed $18 million sow operation, which would have nearly 7,500 animals. That lawsuit alleges that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has still failed to issue a single Clean Water Act permit to address water pollution from a hog CAFO anywhere in Iowa. The state's estimate of 11,000 existing confined and open lot facilities — "and that's a conservative number — is far too many.". That limit was set in 1962 by the Environmental Protection Agency to guard against blue baby syndrome, a potentially fatal condition that starves infants of oxygen if they ingest too much nitrate. Legal Disclaimer | Copyright © 2007-2020, EWG. The DNR publishes this information as attributed point locations. All of the environmental problems with CAFOs have direct impact on human health and welfare for communities that contain large industrial farms. In turn, Iowa Select has asked that DNR revoke Humboldt County's ability to review projects. Iowa had 750 impaired waterways in 2016, based on an Iowa Department of Natural Resources estimate. Iowa CCI has called repeatedly for a moratorium, concerned about Iowa's water quality. AFOs congregate animals, feed, manure and urine, dead animals, and production operations on a small land area. Once the manure is spread on fields, the nitrogen, phosphorus and bacteria it contains can seep into groundwater or run off to contaminate lakes and streams. CAFOs’ impacts on land, water and air have serious consequences for human health. Of almost 55,000 private wells in Iowa, 40 percent are contaminated with coliform bacteria. Lee said the county plans to challenge the project in court, even though the state approved it. Also known as concentrated animal feeding operations, factory farms are a form of intensive agriculture designed to maximize production while minimizing cost. Iowa law mandates that, an individual or company seeking to construct a CAFO over a certain size must build it at a minimum specified distance Without adequate management of CAFO facilities, Iowans will continue to face a growing threat of serious – in some cases, life-threatening – illnesses from bacteria, nitrates and cyanotoxins in their water. The Kanawha CAFO consists of five buildings that can each house up to 2,500 hogs. They're always in a good mood," said Thiele, reaching down to scratch the backs of a few pigs inside the confined feeding operation. Ironically, Iowa imports almost all of its food from outside of the state. General assumptions were made for each animal type to streamline the calculation. For the survey, EWG analyzed all active operations in the state housing 1,000 or more animal units. Research: Large number of CAFOs in Western Iowa increases nitrate in streams University of Iowa paper quantifies commercial fertilizer and manure … Both types include manure storage structures, but do not include livestock markets. EWG found that in 1990, Iowa had 789 large CAFOs – those housing 1,000 or more animal units – swelling to 3,963 in 2019.1 The findings are supported by the federal Census of Agriculture, which reported that Iowa, the top hog-producing state, housed more than 22.7 million hogs in 2017, an increase of 8.5 million since 1992. That's why Thiele, 35, doesn't understand calls for a moratorium on concentrated animal feeding operations. Our investigation found that hog facilities account for 94 percent of all CAFO growth since 1990, as shown in the charts below. Privacy Policy | Iowa Select Farms has one of the fastest-growing Cafo operations in the country, with 800 farms spread through half of the counties in Iowa. Factory hog farming now dominates certain counties in Iowa, the nation's number-one hog-producing state. By federal definition, these are 1,000 animal units (AU); smaller animal feeding operations (AFOs) are classified as permitted medium sized (500 AU to 999 AU), or small (below 500 AU in Iowa, but generally below 300 in other states). The jobs will bring about $700,000 in annual payroll to the community, Sorenson said. The resolution wants no permits issued by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources until the state's number of impaired waterways has dropped to fewer than 100 … An animal unit is the equivalent of 1,000 pounds (450 kg) of "live" animal weight. There are groups in Iowa that can help you organize and fight against an encroaching factory farm. “The land that is prone to damage would more likely be converted to pasture and forage production,” he said, “Iowa is still going to produce 50 to 80 million pigs [in the next few decades], and we can expect to see cattle production double. An animal unit is defined as an animal equivalent of 1,000 pounds live weight, with a single animal unit equating to 1 beef cattle, .7 dairy cattle, 2.5 swine weighing more than 55 pounds, 125 broiler chickens, or 82 laying hens or pullets.1, Active Operations with Dominant Animal Type. (For full methodology, click here.). The final count for large, active animal feeding operations to be dated included 3,955 operations. Gibbons said he wants to make sure that Missouri doesn’t see an increase in CAFOs like Iowa did, as the state now deals with hundreds of impaired waterways and an excess of CAFO-produced waste. An animal unit is the equivalent of 1,000 pounds (450 kg) of "live" animal weight. A facility expansion included the addition of or increase in size of livestock barns, or in the case of cattle, the addition of or increase in size of feedlots or paddocks. 98 More than 2900 of these house more than 1000 animal units, qualifying them as large CAFOs under the EPA’s guidelines. If you know of a small confinement that is not on the map, please contact us at 641-209-6600 or email jfan@lisco.com. Since 1990, Iowa’s large animal feeding operations increased almost fivefold, from 789 to 3,936. In 2001, there were 722 Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) permitted (93 percent hog) large CAFOs. will help local board of health members understand their role in developing ways to mitigate potential problems associated with CAFOs. Despite high costs to the environment and public health, many Iowa farmers pride themselves on their state’s agricultural productivity. More pigs drive the need for added processing space, Hayes said. The DNR reports that there are approximately 4,000 small CAFOs throughout Iowa that are not tracked by the state. To ensure safe drinking water and swimmable beaches, Iowa needs to make big changes immediately. It's strong profits over the past three years that's fueling recent confinement expansion, Hayes said. But rarely is it called what it is: a mess from the CAFO with 3,500 cows. EWG used satellite and aerial imagery to pinpoint where and when the new large CAFOs appeared in Iowa. Gene Tinker, who was DNR's coordinator of animal feeding operations for 14 years, said Iowa needs to have more discussion about where livestock facilities should be located. The DNR's CAFO oversight responsibilities are focused on water quality, but odors are often what drive tensions between large livestock facilities and their neighbors. The establishment of a CAFO almost always leads to decreases in property values for neighbors, and if accompanied by a number of CAFOs, can threaten the economic future of the community as a whole. The mountains of animal waste produced by these facilities pose a serious and growing threat to human health, the environment and water resources in the state. In western Iowa, Luke Haffner says ag's seemingly unfettered expansion is among the reasons he and his wife may give up on rural Iowa. However, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has documented a three-fold increase in “impairments” of water bodies in Iowa between 2002 and 2012, years when CAFO were rapidly replacing independent Iowa family hog farms.xiii Water pollution isn't just an environmental issue. It later landed in Wright County. Iowa tracks data on two types of DNR-regulated AFOs, both of which house animals kept and fed for 45 days or more per year: confinements and open feedlots. The report found that of 54,000 private wells tested, 40 percent were contaminated with coliform bacteria. The number of pigs in Iowa has climbed 17.5 percent over the past decade, USDA data show. Pig farmer Trent Thiele sees room for more CAFOs, concentrated animal feeding operations, on Iowa's farmland. 53% of all … Many people feel overwhelmed when an unwanted CAFO comes into a neighborhood. "We saw this coming with the Prestage plant," she said. Facility attribution was performed using the best judgment of the geographic information system analyst. After the farm crisis in the 1980s , factory farms began sprouting up across the nation and they were increasingly built in places situated on rich and fertile soil — like here in Iowa. Reasons for being unable to date a location could include that the facility had not yet been built or was mislocated, or some other recording factor. "I truly enjoy coming to work every morning. Large swine animal feeding operation growth captured in Palo Alto County, Iowa. These units were then converted to animal counts and given a daily waste estimate, which was then multiplied by 365 to model a year. The top five Iowa counties for pig production are … Brenna Smith, Gov. Lee said the facility should sit farther away from the drainage intake, but Iowa Select and DNR say the drainage ditch doesn't qualify as a protected water source. Even with little legislative action, Humboldt County supervisors are fighting against a 5,000-head Iowa Select finishing facility, saying it could hurt area water. Since then, a growing body of research indicates increased cancer risk at levels well below the legal limit. With so much manure on Iowa’s landscape, it’s not surprising that pollution is fouling Iowa’s drinking water, some of the state’s favorite beaches and other water recreation areas. CAFOs in Iowa is not exact. Seaboard-Triumph Foods' $300 million pork processing plant opened in Sioux City last fall. Now, the 38-year-old mother wonders if they made the right decision. He said mainly small farmers were raising pigs 30 years ago. Iowa led the growth in animal confinements, adding nearly 2,000 CAFOs in the seven year period, according to an analysis of data from the EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. But while the expansion of CAFOs has made Iowa hog farms more productive than ever, this hasn’t brought farmers higher incomes or more stability. Most people attending the meeting last month supported the project, saying it would provide good-paying jobs — about 18, the company said — in a rural community that needs them. All you have to do it pick up the phone and reach out. The analysis notes that CAFO as defined by the EPA and what the public would call a factory farm are not necessarily the same. 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