Ending a five-month hiatus, highly pathogenic avian influenza was confirmed in commercial flocks in two states — turkey farms in Utah and South Dakota — said the Agriculture Department. Some 58.97 million birds, mostly egg-laying chickens and turkeys being raised for human consumption, have died in bird flu outbreaks that began in February 2022.
In an appellate court order, the EPA agreed on Monday to decide by Aug. 15 if it would tighten water pollution standards for large livestock and poultry farms, a goal pursued for years by environmental groups. Only three in 10 of the largest factory farms are regulated at present, said Food and Water Watch.
The new farm bill should reflect "Americans' concerns and compassion for animals and the environment" with steps that include a ban on new factory farms and encourage more attention to animal welfare, said the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "Public dollars should not support a cruel, polluting factory farm systems that harms animals, the environment, workers, farmers and rural communities alike."
New Jersey's Cory Booker, sponsor of bills to place a moratorium on large livestock farms and to expand Black ownership of farmland, is among five newcomers to the Senate Agriculture Committee, said panel leaders. The new members also include Republicans Roger Marshall and Tommy Tuberville, both of whom challenged President Biden's election on the same day a mob attacked the Capitol.
Cattle outnumber people 40 to one in Deaf Smith County in the Texas Panhandle, giving the county seat of Hereford its title as the "beef capital of the world." But the area is also a hotspot of citizen complaints about manure dust storms created when fierce winds hit feedlots housing tens of thousands of animals, according to FERN's latest story, written by Chris Collins and produced in collaboration with The Texas Observer and Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.(No paywall)
As the number of massive livestock farms balloons in states like Iowa, Maryland, and Nebraska, communities are scrambling to figure out how to control the pollution and waste produced by thousands — or tens of thousands — of animals. In some places, officials have opted to ban the mega-farms altogether, and the idea of a moratorium on the biggest animal farms is gaining support in local governments, statehouses, and even in Congress. (No paywall)
America's thousands of confinement livestock operations pollute the air every day with chemicals like ammonia, methane, and hydrogen sulfide. Yet no one tracks exactly how much air pollution these farms produce, according to FERN's latest story, published with The Nation.(No paywall)
Sen. Cory Booker, who's seeking the Democratic nomination for president, today introduced new legislation that would reshape how livestock farming operates in the U.S. The Farm System Reform Act includes some changes that Booker and other legislators have proposed in the past, like a moratorium on new concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Other elements of the bill are new, like a plan to phase out large CAFOs in the next 20 years.(No paywall)
A community divided. A local official accused of self-dealing. A top political appointee ousted from his job. In Wisconsin, a state where the footprint of agribusiness is growing, the question of how to regulate factory farms is a pressing topic from the town hall to the statehouse. The issue …
As Nebraska's brand-new Costco chicken processing plant begins sending birds down the line, residents are escalating their protest against the company by pushing for a statewide moratorium on new concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).(No paywall)
The Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed suit against the Tillamook County Creamery Association, alleging it has misrepresented its products as being sourced from small-scale, humane farms.
For years, complaints about hog pollution in North Carolina disappeared after they were filed with state authorities, FERN's latest story with The Guardian and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting says. But as a result of a settlement with environmental justice groups, the state this year began posting complaints online – exceeding in six months the number of complaints in the prior decade.
A bill in Missouri that would eliminate local regulation of CAFOs has passed in the state Senate and House and is headed to the desk of Gov. Mike Parson, who is expected to sign it into law. Opponents of the bill say it favors the interests of the largest livestock farms while exposing communities to greater health and environmental risks.
Communities in Missouri have been fighting the expansion of large-scale livestock operations in the state for years. But a controversial pair of bills moving through the state legislature would make community oversight of those farms even harder. The bills would eliminate local ordinances that regulate industrial animal farms in the state, or make it impossible to enforce those ordinances. The bills mirror trends in other states where legislators have moved to undermine local control of large-scale livestock farms.(No paywall)
Timothy A. Wise spent four years researching the industrialization of agriculture and the influence of agribusiness on policy creation around the world. Everywhere he traveled, he saw how governments and philanthropies have committed to a vision of hunger eradication that heralds industrial, large-scale agriculture. His new book, Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food, details how this vision has largely failed to bring countries closer to food security even as it has imperiled our water, soil, and farming communities.(No paywall)
A spike in the number of large-scale animal farms and resulting manure production in the Maumee watershed is contributing to algae blooms in Lake Erie, a new report finds. The authors write that over half of the manure contributing to water pollution comes from farms that don't require permits or regulatory oversight.
Last week, a Nebraska county board reversed its decision to block a poultry CAFO from coming to a small town. The reversal came soon after Gov. Pete Ricketts had expressed his support for such operations and challenged the county to better serve farmers. It also arrives as a new piece of right-to-farm legislation aims to restrict lawsuits against farming operations. (No paywall)
Last week, seven corporate agriculture interest groups sued the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to halt the extension of a public comment period on a proposed mega-dairy expansion in Winona County, Minnesota. The suit highlights broader efforts by agribusiness to silence opposition from rural residents who speak out against large concentrated animal feeding operations in their communities. (No paywall)
The EPA has proposed a rule that would exempt industrial livestock farms from a requirement under a “community right-to-know law” that they notify state and local officials of gases produced by the manure on their farms. (No paywall)