Factory Farms and America's Rural Heritage

Arrow
Arrow Rock's wealth of historic and outdoor resources, such as the George Caleb Bingham House, make it one of Missouri's premier heritage tourism destinations. A proposal to build a factory farm nearby has been halted for now, but a court-ordered buffer zone has been challenged by DNR.

Credit: Friends of Arrow Rock

Factory farms are impacting the nation's historic rural landscape. Also known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), factory farms use industrial production techniques to raise thousands of animals in one location.

These farms affect rural historic places in several ways. The most obvious impact is a highly unpleasant odor. However, there are indirect impacts from factory farms to consider as well. The concentration of livestock operations into large facilities is one of the factors behind the decline in the number of farms nationally, particularly middle-sized family farms. As small and medium-sized producers are forced out of agriculture, historic farms are sold and consolidated and many historic farm structures are abandoned. Historic rural communities and Main Street businesses suffer because factory farms employ fewer people than small farms and typically purchase feed and supplies from sources outside of the community.