11/5/2017 4:25:00 PM EDITORIAL: State a vital component of CAFO control
Few scenes seem more at peace with nature than a family farm nestled in the bucolic countryside.
Supersized factory farms are not designed to exude much charm. They do, however, produce massive amounts of waste that can pollute the air and water and produce odors that make life miserable for nearby residents.
Indiana farms with at least 300 cattle, 600 swine or sheep, or 30,000 poultry in confinement are called controlled feeding operations. Farms with even larger animal populations – 700 or more dairy cows, for instance, or more than 2,500 swine of 55 pounds, or more than 30,000 laying hens – are known as concentrated animal feeding operations. There are more than 1,800 CFOs and CAFOs in the state. There are 12 CFOs in Allen County, six of which are CAFOs.
In the past two decades, the number and size of these farms has grown, and today they're largely responsible for Indiana's high national rankings in production of layers, broilers, pullets, hogs, pigs and turkeys. But runoff from waste pits and lagoons at these facilities is a huge source of E. coli bacteria that has sullied many Indiana streams and nutrients that endanger many lakes. Decomposing livestock waste also produces air pollutants that can be both noxious and dangerous, such as hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and particulate matter, the Hoosier Environmental Council says.