CAFO: a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. This is what they look like.

Confined Swine Feeding Operation
Confined swine feeding operation/Kent Becker, USGS

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CAFO is the polite term for an industrial meat production facility.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines animal feeding operations (AFOs) as agricultural enterprises where animals are kept and raised in confined situations. There are approximately 450,000 AFOs in the United States. When AFOs reach a certain size, about 1,000 cows or 2,500 hogs, they are classified as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). CAFOs congregate animals, feed, manure and urine, dead animals, and production operations on a small land area. Feed is brought to the animals instead of allowing them to to graze in pastures, fields, or on rangeland.

Kansas hosts some of the nation's largest CAFOs, mainly cattle feedlots, dairies and hog factories, located primarily in the drought-prone areas of western Kansas.  This includes a cattle feedlot permitted for 150,000 cows, a dairy permitted for 35,000 cows, and a hog factory permitted for 198,000 mature hogs. In the 1990s the Kansas Chapter worked with rural citizens who were fighting new hog CAFOs and succeeded in getting new regulations through the legislature. Although these changes require CAFOs to report more data that help us monitor their environmental impacts, they don't protect our aquifers and do little to shield neighbors from dangerous dust and noxious odors. We continue our efforts to hold the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) accountable for the unhealthy pollution of rural air and water.

The massive cattle feedlots of western Kansas are linked to industrial scale cattle grazing in the Flint Hills of eastern Kansas. The intensive burning and overstocking of grasslands in the early spring each year have caused serious air quality problems in eastern Kansas and downwind states such as Nebraska and Missouri. These practices are destroying valuable habitat for grassland birds. The Chapter is promoting a new patch burn technique that according to recent research preserves wildlife habitat without significantly hurting ranching
productivity. We also encourage ranchers to conduct their burns in late summer for better invasive weed control.
Industrial agriculture is a significant source of greenhouse gases, so the Chapter recognizes the need for people to pursue a healthier diet containing less processed food and meat. We support efforts to connect urban food consumers with family farmers who produce organically grown crops and humanely raised, free-range animal products.
We are now in year 5 of our fight against  KDHE and the industrial hog farmers who have evaded regulations designed to protect nearby residents. We have spent thousands of dollars in litigation costs and thousands of volunteer hours challenging  departmental failures. We have persisted in this struggle through administrative proceedings, followed by a lawsuit. After our district court victory was reversed by the Court of Appeals on technical grounds, we filed a petition for review with the Kansas Supreme Court which is now pending. We will not give up.

Sierra Club Policy on Food and Agriculture
earthjustice Sierra Club Report - Building Decarbonization

Swine Production and Environmental Stewardship (EPA)

Local Taxonomy