Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) have been a topic of environmental concern for many years but have recently caught the spotlight through the many articles and research that are being released throughout North Carolina.
CCRW has been observing CAFOs and holding them accountable for many years. These concentrated hog and poultry farms are harmful to the environment, North Carolina water quality, and communities that live anywhere close to the facilities. We will continue fighting for the quality of water and quality of life in 2023 and will support policies that help our cause.
PHOTO: LEWIS, 2022 – Aerial photograph of CAFOs and housing communities scattered throughout the landscape. Photo was taken around the Town of Richlands in NC.
As 2023 approaches, CCRW is collecting our list of legislative priorities that will guide our CAFO work in the new year. We want to see more oversight and transparency of CAFOs and funding to support farmers and best practices.
Here is our current 2023 Legislative Agenda for CAFOs:
Funding for the Swine Farm Buyout Program – The swine farm buyout is a voluntary program that was established in the wake of Hurricane Floyd to remove swine farms from the 100-year floodplain.
Oversight of the Poultry Industry – The poultry industry in North Carolina has little regulation, which leads to unchecked amounts of nutrients and bacteria from these facilities polluting our state’s waterways.
Poultry Study Bill – To understand the impacts of poultry waste on our state waterways.
Animal Agriculture Resilience Planning –To remove facilities within the 100 year floodplain and prevent new construction of facilities within the 500 year floodplain.
Nutrient Waste Utilization Plans – To be submitted to DEQ for approval and prohibit land application of poultry waste within 100 ft of surface waters.
Increase Funding for Soil and Water Cost-Share Programs – The Agricultural Cost Share Program typically receives as much as $20 million in requests for $4 million in annual funding statewide.
Livestock exclusion from waterways – We suggest establishing an annually recurring fund to help farmers install livestock exclusion fencing and alternative water sources.
Move state water quality standards from fecal coliform to E.coli for all freshwaters– North Carolina is one of only four states that have yet to transition to E.coli as a pathogen indicator. EPA made this change in 1986. In March, 2022, the Environmental Management Commission committed to transitioning on an expedited timeline.
The use of a point system for reoccurring permit violations – Farms that are continually in violation of their permits will accrue points depending on the violation. After a certain number of points, the operation must stop until they are within compliance.
As part of the Pure Farms Pure Water campaign, CCRW calls attention to these destructive practices, advocate for environmental laws, and support traditional family farms.
Coastal Carolina Riverwatch wants to see poultry CAFO’s regulated by the NC Department of Environmental Quality. Without proper regulation and enforcement, large facilities that produce as much waste as a large city will continue to pollute Coastal Carolina’s waterways and threaten our quality of water and quality of life.
This holiday season please consider supporting a small, local farm when searching for pork or poultry products. Small efforts like these, help our community businesses and help protect water quality in your back yard.
Though many CAFOs cannot be seen from the road, please keep an eye out for any hog lagoons or uncovered dry litter piles that look (or smell) off and let the White Oak Waterkeeper know!
Through Coastal Carolina Riverwatch’s boots-on-the-ground rapid response program we have documented significant water quality problems that threaten human health and aquatic life and utilize that information to increase awareness and support for improved policies. We conduct research and use facilitated collaborative methods to engage advocates, scientists, industry, government, and other stakeholders to provide top-down prioritized gaps-in-service programming for the communities in coastal NC.