Large-scale animal production in eight Indiana counties is carried out by a mostly younger, educated work force and seldom violates state environmental regulations. However, fiscal and zoning issues surrounding confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are more complicated, according to a newly released study by four Purdue University researchers.
“The expansion of CAFOs in Indiana has been controversial. The purpose of Purdue's research was to learn more about the issues and the impact of CAFOs on local communities,” says Janet Ayres, an agricultural economist and research team leader. In Indiana, the primary growth involving CAFOs has been related to pork production operations and dairies.
“Community Impacts of Confined Animal Feeding Operations” examined 50 CAFOs in Benton, Cass, Huntington, Jasper, Jay, Randolph, Wabash and Wells counties, which have the largest concentration of the animal facilities in the state. The 2007/2008 study looked at demographics, labor, impacts on local government budgets, environment violations and county planning and zoning. It was funded entirely by Purdue Extension and the university's College of Agriculture.
Researchers rolled-out their findings with a statewide broadcast carried live at Purdue Extension offices and other locations in 21 Indiana counties.