Dorian has limited impact on North Carolina manure lagoons
A handful of livestock farms reported high water levels in their manure lagoons, but no breaches or overflows, after Hurricane Dorian left North Carolina with limited damage compared to Hurricane Florence a year ago. Gov. Roy Cooper summarized the views of local officials, residents and business owners, in saying over the weekend, "This could have been much worse for our state."
Trump, Congress make it harder for CAFO neighbors to know what they’re inhaling
Recent actions by the GOP-controlled Congress and the Trump administration have exempted big livestock operations from reporting air emissions, according to the latest story from FERN, published with Mother Jones. (No paywall)
Smithfield aims for manure digesters, not lagoons, in three states
In order to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, Smithfield Foods set a target on Thursday of equipping 90 percent of its hog-finishing facilities in three states with manure-to-energy digesters to capture biogas for eventual sale as renewable natural gas.
North Carolina offers to buy out floodplain hog farms
A month after Hurricane Florence swamped southern North Carolina with up to 40 inches of rain, state officials offered on Thursday to buy out hog farms that have a high risk of flooding in severe storms.
North Carolina ag losses from Florence soar to $2.4 billion
Gov. Roy Cooper earmarked $235 million for agriculture out of a proposed $1.5 billion in state spending for recovery from Hurricane Florence “and future storm resiliency” on Wednesday.
North Carolina ‘no place for CAFOs,’ says green group
Hurricane Florence is the latest illustration that "flood-prone coastal states like North Carolina are no place for CAFOs," said the Union of Concerned Scientists, calling for tighter regulation of industrial livestock farms. Gov. Roy Cooper and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue are scheduled to view agricultural damage today and may see some of the four dozen manure lagoons statewide that are flooded or overflowing because of storm water.
Florence aftermath: Lower chicken production for a top processor
The third-largest U.S. poultry processor lost at least 8 percent of its chickens in North Carolina due to flooding from Hurricane Florence, and expects lower meat production through December as a result. Sanderson Farms was the first meat processor to announce livestock losses: 1.7 million chickens.
Hurricane Florence swamps hog lagoons in North Carolina
At least eight manure lagoons in hog-heavy southeastern North Carolina were breached, flooded or "overtopped" due to relentless rainfall from Hurricane Florence and flooding that is expected to continue for days, said a state official on Monday. The North Carolina Pork Council, a farm group, said "we remain concerned about the the potential impact of these record-shattering floods."
Jury awards hog-farm neighbors $473.5 million in nuisance lawsuit
A federal jury awarded six neighbors of industrial hog farms in North Carolina $473.5 million in damages on Friday. The lawsuit is the third so far on the waste-management practices of Smithfield-associated hog farms in the state. Earlier verdicts have awarded plaintiffs about $75 million.
Advocates ask North Carolina governor to veto right-to-farm law
Several national and local advocacy groups are calling on North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to veto a bill that would greatly restrict the public's ability to sue large-scale animal farms over negative health and environmental effects. The state general assembly passed the bill on Friday.
Another Missouri community fights the CAFO-expansion trend
Residents of tiny Lone Jack, MO, are fighting a proposal by a local ranch to expand its feedlot from around 600 cows to nearly 7,000. It is the latest in a series of communities pushing back against a national trend toward concentrated animal agriculture. (No paywall)
Coalition urges Iowa legislators to end new factory farm development
A coalition of 55 environmental, agricultural, and food-safety organizations signed a letter urging the Iowa General Assembly pass a moratorium on new and expanded factory farm development in the state. Iowa currently houses nearly 23 million hogs, a record for the state and the highest number in the country.
Farm fumes contribute to deadly air pollution
Rising ammonia emissions from farm animal waste and fertilizer are a major contributor to air pollution, causing death and illness around the world, according to FERN’s latest story, published with Ensia. “In the past 70 years, global emissions of ammonia have more than doubled,” writes Lindsey Konkel. (No paywall)
In a big pig state, an experiment to control hog manure
North Carolina is home to 8.8 million hogs, most of them in large barns in the eastern part of the state that draw complaints about noxious odors and the huge volume of manure generated by the hogs. Researchers at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), created in 1994, are running an experiment in raising hogs "without antibiotics in a way that grants them enough space to roam — and that keeps their waste out of open-air lagoons," says the North Carolina Health News.
North Carolina pork industry: ‘Much less damage’ than in previous storms
In the floods caused by Hurricane Matthew, manure lagoons on North Carolina hog farms "withstood the storm remarkably well," said the North Carolina Pork Council. Fourteen lagoons were flooded and only one lagoon was partially breached — on a farm that has not housed hogs "for more than five years, significantly minimizing the environmental impact."
Flood count in North Carolina: 98 poultry barns, 15 hog lagoons
An environmental group, Waterkeeper Alliance, says floods from Hurricane Matthew swamped 98 barns on 27 poultry farms and 15 manure lagoons on nine hog farms in North Carolina based on reconnaissance flights over storm-hit territory. State environmental officials say their aerial observations determined one hog farm had two partial breaches, the most serious type of damage for release of animal waste from a manure lagoon.
Aerial survey says hog farms may escape catastrophic damage in North Carolina flooding
Inspectors found flooding of some manure lagoons in eastern North Carolina, but their aerial inspection "did not show any confirmed breaches or overtopping," says the state Department of Environmental Quality. Environmental groups say the floods, a result of Hurricane Matthew, are a severe test of whether large-scale livestock farms, producing millions of hogs and broiler chickens a year, can keep animal waste from mixing with storm water.
Investigation: Illinois regulatory system failed to check giant pork producers
A dysfunctional and toothless state regulatory system “failed to protect rural communities” and the environment from pork producers that “repeatedly exploited weak Illinois laws to build and expand … massive” confinement facilities over the last 20 years, according to an investigation by the Chicago Tribune.