Over the last several decades, farms have become fewer and farther between and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) have become increasingly larger and more popular across the U.S. While there are many advantages to concentrated animal feeding operations, CAFOs can pose potential environmental and health problems if not operated correctly. In today’s blog, we are going to discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of concentrated animal feeding operations to help you gain a better understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of CAFOs.

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Pros

Unlike in the past, when you had to raise your own animals for milk, meat, and eggs, concentrated animal feeding operations make it possible for all families to enjoy sustainable, farm-fresh food and reap the rewards of economic gains.

A More Efficient System

Raising a small number of animals independently is costly to sustain, and prior to concentrated animal feeding operations and the revolutionization of livestock production, if you didn’t live on a farm, meat, milk, and eggs weren’t widely available. The large facility size and efficiency of feeding and housing animals reduce the cost of raising healthy animals, increase sustainability, and expand the availability of the products produced to families who do not live on a farm.

Economic Gains

The large size of concentrated animal feeding operations enhances the local economy by creating more opportunities for employment and bringing in more funds for schools and infrastructure. The local goods used to keep CAFOs running also advance the economy and enable a low-cost source of milk, meat, and eggs to the community.

State, Local, & Federal Regulations

Due to the large number of animals housed together, there is a risk for increased environmental and health concerns — if CAFOs are not properly managed, located, and monitored. While there are some hazards to concentrated animal feeding operations, there are state, local, and federal regulations CAFOs must abide by to reduce these threats to the community.

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Cons

As mentioned above, concentrated animal feeding operations offer many benefits to the community, but they do have their drawbacks if they are located in the wrong place and managed poorly. The main concern comes from the amount of manure so many animals housed together produce. The potential contaminants contained in manure increases the risk of environmental and health problems.

Increased Environmental & Health Problems

CAFOs have more than 1,000 “animal units.” An animal unit is equal to 1,000 pounds of live weight. You can only imagine how much waste is produced. That being said, waste management is one of the biggest concerns of concentrated animal feeding operations because of its potential threat to public health. The contaminants that manure contains has the potential to contaminate both ground and surface water, and air quality.

At AGPROfessionals, our agricultural consultant professionals know how to properly and efficiently manage concentrated animal feeding operations in Colorado and Nevada. If you are looking for expert advice, we would be happy to work with you on all issues regarding concentrated animal feeding operations, including licensing, facility inspections, animal waste discharges, and wastewater facilities. Contact us today to learn more about our services.