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The Impacts of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

Indiana has close to 2000 CAFOs across the state.

Noon Edition airs Fridays at 12:00 p.m. on WFIU.

As livestock operations in Indiana become industrialized, more Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, are being built.

CAFOs are farming operations where a typically large number of livestock are kept and fed in a confined space.

CAFOs can have a major impact on the environment and the communities surrounding them. The amount of manure and wastewater produced by CAFOs has the potential to contribute to pollution. Nearby communities are concerned of the effect CAFOs will have on their property values.

This week on Noon Edition, our panelists discussed the livestock industry and CAFOs.


Paul Ebner:  Associate Professor of Animal Sciences, Purdue University

Kim Ferraro: Senior Staff Attorney & Agricultural Policy Director, Hoosier Environmental Council

Conversation: The Impacts of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

Much debate around CAFOs revolves around the land use of these operations. Farmers have the right to farm their land, while neighbors have the right to a healthy environment.

Paul Ebner is an Associate Professor of Animal Sciences at Purdue University and studies CAFOs and how they affect communities.

Ebner says where CAFOs can be located and how they are located is handled at the county level, but many factors attribute to the disparities between counties with higher numbers of CAFOs and counties with very few CAFOs.

“Local communities have the best kind of background to decide where these farms should locate,” Ebner says.

Kim Ferraro is the Senior Staff Attorney and Agricultural Policy Director with the Hoosier Environmental Council. Ferraro argues for more environmental protections across the board at both the state level and county level.

“We’re a home rule state. [Counties] can go beyond what IDEM requires,” Ferraro says. “They can impose odor standards. They can impose air pollution limits, which is really critical given that federal and state regulation do not in anyway regulate air emissions from CAFOs.”


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