EWG Study and Mapping Show Large CAFOs in Iowa Up Fivefold Since 1990

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January 21, 2020

The number of large concentrated animal feeding operations, or large CAFOs, in Iowa increased nearly fivefold in the past two decades, a new study from Environmental Working Group reveals, with almost all of the growth from big hog-feeding operations.

EWG found that in 1990, Iowa had 789 large CAFOs – those housing 1,000 or more animal units – swelling to 3,963 in 2019.1 The findings are supported by the federal Census of Agriculture, which reported that Iowa, the top hog-producing state, housed more than 22.7 million hogs in 2017, an increase of 8.5 million since 1992.

Swine and other livestock raised in Iowa’s large CAFOs now produce 68 billion pounds of manure a year – conservatively, 68 times the total amount of fecal waste produced each year by the state’s 3.15 million residents.

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