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Thread: Living near a CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation)

  1. #1

    Living near a CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation)

    I know several of your guys are rural dwellers like myself. I wanted to see if any of you had any experience with living near a CAFO and if so, how close. I have read nightmares about the smell, flies, groundwater contamination, etc. All of these have been articles written in opposition to CAFOs. Papers written at universities related to choosing sites and odor mitigation, etc don't portray such a bleak position. I am sure the truth is somewhere in between.

    The reason I am asking is that the land (69 acres) my wife and I bought many years ago in the rural community where I grew up and planned to retire has a swine CAFO that is planned to be built ~1.25 miles east of the future house site (Fuck you Tosh Farms) and I just found out this past weekend that a chicken barn is going up ~1.5 miles due west (Fuck you Tyson).

    Depending on the source you read, you can smell them 30 miles away, 6 miles away, a mile away or no more than 1,500 ft away.

    Has anyone lived near or own a CAFO that could share their honest experience?

    The land I bought is in a community that was first pioneered by my family nearly 200 years ago. It isn't something that I want to give up for our planned early retirement, but the horror stories I have been reading makes me wonder if I need to seek land elsewhere. I have ~5 years to decide.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crow Hunter View Post
    I know several of your guys are rural dwellers like myself. I wanted to see if any of you had any experience with living near a CAFO and if so, how close. I have read nightmares about the smell, flies, groundwater contamination, etc. All of these have been articles written in opposition to CAFOs. Papers written at universities related to choosing sites and odor mitigation, etc don't portray such a bleak position. I am sure the truth is somewhere in between.

    The reason I am asking is that the land (69 acres) my wife and I bought many years ago in the rural community where I grew up and planned to retire has a swine CAFO that is planned to be built ~1.25 miles east of the future house site (Fuck you Tosh Farms) and I just found out this past weekend that a chicken barn is going up ~1.5 miles due west (Fuck you Tyson).

    Depending on the source you read, you can smell them 30 miles away, 6 miles away, a mile away or no more than 1,500 ft away.

    Has anyone lived near or own a CAFO that could share their honest experience?

    The land I bought is in a community that was first pioneered by my family nearly 200 years ago. It isn't something that I want to give up for our planned early retirement, but the horror stories I have been reading makes me wonder if I need to seek land elsewhere. I have ~5 years to decide.

    Thanks
    My grandmother lived near a couple (one hog, one turkey) in eastern NC most of my life (they're still there, she passed away 5 years ago). Sometimes you could smell them, sometimes not depending on prevailing winds. At its worst, it was tolerable (or we got used to it). The turkey joint was about a quarter mile from her house and visible from her front yard. I don't know exactly where the hog operation was located.

    She and my grandfather bought that property roughly 70 years ago, well before the turkey and hog operations moved in. Stuff like that is what makes me think zoning isn't such a bad thing.

    Chris

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkr View Post
    My grandmother lived near a couple (one hog, one turkey) in eastern NC most of my life (they're still there, she passed away 5 years ago). Sometimes you could smell them, sometimes not depending on prevailing winds. At its worst, it was tolerable (or we got used to it). The turkey joint was about a quarter mile from her house and visible from her front yard. I don't know exactly where the hog operation was located.

    She and my grandfather bought that property roughly 70 years ago, well before the turkey and hog operations moved in. Stuff like that is what makes me think zoning isn't such a bad thing.

    Chris
    Thank you and I agree with the zoning.

    I feel that CAFOs should really be zoned Industrial, as they are quite literally a "Factory Farm" rather than a traditional agricultural operation.

    I don't have a problem with CAFOs placed correctly. I do have a problem with them being treated as traditional agriculture.

    I grew up next to a pig farm that became a cattle farm (Around 50 head in 180 acres of mixed pasture and woods), I spent a lot of time helping extended family chase cows/pigs and put them back into and mend fences. Where I currently live, there is a traditional cow pasture across the road from my house and a horse pasture bordering the west side of my property and there are two cow pastures directly east of me. I don't have a problem with them at all. However, we are talking about 3 horses or 30-60 cows in a large pasture not 30,000 chickens or 16,000 pigs.

    HUGE difference.

  4. #4
    There was a pig farm in Camarillo California. Never saw it, but sure did smell it every time we drove a road that ran through the area! It was a strong, nauseating stench.

    There were cow pens next to one of the highways in Central or Northern California- the I-5 if I recall. It smelled of cow and dung, laced together with a nose burning ammonia odor of piss.

    There's a cow pasture behind the house we currently live in. Cows are brought in during the winter months for fattening and calving. Not many, maybe fifty cows. We sometimes get a whiff when the wind is right, but it's faint. Their lowing is more bothersome than the smell.
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  5. #5
    Unreconstructed Moylan's Avatar
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    I can't answer about the distance, but I can say that at the RWVA Range in Ramseur, NC, there are some chicken houses within a half mile, perhaps closer to a quarter mile. Many days the smell at the range is quite offensive. However, I have never found it to be overwhelming or to seriously compromise comfort or whatnot. I haven't noticed an increase of vermin. So my guess is you'll be pretty much OK with the chicken houses. I would guess that a cafo with a lagoon for liquid manure storage might be a different thing, but fortunately we don't seem to have those in my part of the state. The hogs would worry me.

    Groundwater contamination, I know nothing about.

    I'm praying nobody plunks a cafo down near our property, and I wish I could buy a lot more acreage around us to give us a barrier, but I can't do it. Missed out on 40-some acres bordering us last year.
    O judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, And men have lost their reason.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Moylan View Post
    I can't answer about the distance, but I can say that at the RWVA Range in Ramseur, NC, there are some chicken houses within a half mile, perhaps closer to a quarter mile. Many days the smell at the range is quite offensive. However, I have never found it to be overwhelming or to seriously compromise comfort or whatnot. I haven't noticed an increase of vermin. So my guess is you'll be pretty much OK with the chicken houses. I would guess that a cafo with a lagoon for liquid manure storage might be a different thing, but fortunately we don't seem to have those in my part of the state. The hogs would worry me.

    Groundwater contamination, I know nothing about.

    I'm praying nobody plunks a cafo down near our property, and I wish I could buy a lot more acreage around us to give us a barrier, but I can't do it. Missed out on 40-some acres bordering us last year.
    The planned swine CAFO is one with a pit below it rather than a lagoon. Supposedly they are much less smelly.

    I hope you don't have to deal with it either.

    What is concerning me is that it isn't local people building these at all. There are people who live in the cities or sometimes out of state who will buy a plot of land and then contract with Tyson or Tosh or others and build a CAFO right next door to someone and hire someone local to take care of it. So they get the benefits but they don't have to smell it because they live in a nice subdivision in a city somewhere.

    I would definitely not want to have a small plot of pasture or other unproductive land at 30-50 acres close to me. That seems to be a prime location for it.

  7. #7
    Site Supporter Trooper224's Avatar
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    I spent thirteen years living in an area with feedlots and processing plants. I can say wholeheartedly that you want no part of anything they bring to the area. They have negative impacts on everything fron air quality to polluting the water table. Swine are the absolute worst at the latter. Due to the employee base they attract, read that as southern and illegal, there will be an increase in local crime at all levels: doubling of domestic violence, tripling of property crime etc. There is no upside except for the few elite locals who may profit from land sales and the corporations that run the facilities. If you own property, my best advice is to sell now while you can. That's the only good you'll get out of if.
    We may lose and we may win, but we will never be here again.......

  8. #8
    Site Supporter 0ddl0t's Avatar
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    If able, I would move away... Even if you can tolerate it, it'll drastically limit the pool of your future neighbors...

    Quote Originally Posted by MistWolf View Post
    There were cow pens next to one of the highways in Central or Northern California- the I-5 if I recall. It smelled of cow and dung, laced together with a nose burning ammonia odor of piss.
    That's Harris Ranch in Coalinga. Cattle ranchers jest it "smells like money." Its other big industries are prisons & commercial outdoor marijuana grows (going back to the point about what neighbors you'll attract).
    Last edited by 0ddl0t; 08-10-2021 at 12:45 PM.

  9. #9
    Where I live here in Texas, we have egg farms where each house can hold 10,000 chickens. Some farms have 20-30 houses. The houses wash the chicken manure into a concrete storage pit to have the manure separated from the water, and if the wind is blowing the right direction it can get pretty bad, what's even worse is when the water is taken off and using industrial sprinklers, irrigate the fields around the farms for making hay it really gets bad. Most times this is done at night when most folks are in beds, windows closed and sleeping. The manure is dried and sold and to my understanding a real money making enterprise.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Tex41mag View Post
    Where I live here in Texas, we have egg farms where each house can hold 10,000 chickens. Some farms have 20-30 houses. The houses wash the chicken manure into a concrete storage pit to have the manure separated from the water, and if the wind is blowing the right direction it can get pretty bad, what's even worse is when the water is taken off and using industrial sprinklers, irrigate the fields around the farms for making hay it really gets bad. Most times this is done at night when most folks are in beds, windows closed and sleeping. The manure is dried and sold and to my understanding a real money making enterprise.
    How far away could you smell it?

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