I had the pleasure of attending the documentary “Farming Was My Life” and the discussion that followed. I am going to try to get the video onto our website so more people can see it. I thought I knew a lot about CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations), but truly I have a lot more to learn.
The Missouri Rural Crisis Center assisted with the film. This 24-year old organization works to address the challenges faced by rural Missouri families and CAFOs are a big challenge. Here are some of the highlights (Facts taken from handouts from Missouri Rural Crisis Center and these facts were highlighted in the documentary.)
1. A Missouri study found that corporate contract operations create a net loss of employment. While creating 9 jobs for every 12,000 hogs produced, corporate contract operations displace 28 jobs.
2. Corporate concentration in the hog industry does not benefit consumers or independent producers. In the last 20 years, hog number in Missouri have stayed the same (2,800,000), while the number of hog farmers has decreased by nearly 90% from 19,000-2,000. From 1985-2006, the retail price of pork increased 64% from $1.71 to $2.81. During the same period, the hog producers’ share of the retail dollar decreased 39% from $.49 to $.30.
3. According to an EPA study, a CAFO with 4,000 hogs can generate as much waste as a city of 16,000 people. A Class 1A Cafo (17,500 hogs and above) can generate as much waste as the City of St. Louis. (I’m not an expert on this, but my understanding also is that the CAFO’s are rarely if ever responsible for clean up of the polution caused by their operations. This expense is passed onto everyone else.)
Some CAFOs house as many as 50,000 hogs. These animals never step outside for fresh air and sunshine. CAFOs strip the “animal” out of the animal!
There’s tons more information to share. If you’re interested, get involved with Missouri Rural Crisis Center. A great organization with an important mission.
Patchwork Farms is affiliated with Missouri Rural Crisis Center. We sell their brats, deli ham slices, bacon and we serve their ham at our cafe. A great group of hog farmers who are doing it right!