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Locals Unite to Stop Hog Farms From Polluting Their Community

Large farms produce millions of gallons of manure a year. The manure in most hog facilities, then it’s hauled off and spread as fertilizer for crops. Manure from CAFOs can contain E. coli, MRSA, antibiotics, and animal growth hormones.

WYATT MASSEY: ‘Sue George never intended to be an activist. The soft-spoken, retired elementary school teacher was content on her century farm near Lime Springs, a town in the rolling hills of northeast Iowa with a tad under 500 people. Then, the hog operations moved in. George lost the need to be “Midwest nice,” she said. “I’m not willing to let our way of life go by the wayside for these people who are coming in and putting all of this manure and all of this pollution into our area. I’m not.” So George organized her neighbors and created a legal document to protect her farm, and town, from the large-scale hog operations she said are destroying a way of life and polluting the environment…

In Howard County, where George lives, 427 hog farms existed in 1982 and just 54 in 2012, according to census data. Those 54 farmers are producing 197,113 hogs a year, or about 3,650 hogs a farmer. To continue increasing hog production, the remaining farm owners build specially designed facilities to keep the animals indoors where their food and waste can be controlled. People are divided about whether these concentrated animal feeding operations, also known as CAFOs, either are the future of American farming or symbolize profits trumping concerns for rural livelihoods, the environment, and animal welfare…

Concentrating animals in one location requires more strict manure management than animals raised on pasture. Large farms produce millions of gallons of manure a year, which is more fecal waste than is produced in some American cities, according to the National Association of Local Boards of Health. The manure in most hog facilities falls through slatted floors into holding tanks. Then it’s hauled off and spread as fertilizer for crops. Manure from CAFOs can contain E. coli, MRSA, antibiotics, and animal growth hormones. When the manure is not spread properly, these contaminants pollute waterways and private wells, as well as contribute to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria’. SOURCE…

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