Factory Farms and America's Rural Heritage

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. Learn more about how factory farms are impacting America's rural heritage (pdf). And read the editorial in the Boise Idaho Statesman from National Trust for Historic Preservation President Richard Moe.