Industrialization and concentration has changed the face of animal agriculture in North Carolina. The amount of production has increased while the number of farms has decreased: ~2.6M hogs house in 15,000 hog farms in the mid-1980s; by 1997, the hog population had ballooned to 8 million and those animals were housed in fewer than 2,400 farms.
And while the number of hog farms (and farmers) has decreased, a new report from EPA’s Office of Inspector General found that, 11 years after an agreement was made, EPA has not developed reliable methods of estimating emissions from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). “As the D.C. Circuit noted in April of this year when it overturned EPA’s 2008 rule exempting CAFOs from hazardous substance air emission reporting requirements, CAFO air emissions can pose very serious risks – ‘people have become seriously ill and even died’ as a result of CAFO waste pit releases during agitation,” said Senior Attorney Kelly Hunter Foster. “It is irresponsible and dangerous for EPA to essentially sit on their hands for the last eleven years while shielding the industry from their responsibility to report and address their air pollution.”
Check out the Waterkeeper article in the YSI Mission: Water magazine, "Combating CAFOs: Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and Water Quality".