Funding for CAFO Inspections
Some states are boosting efforts to ensure that Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations are following the rules.
For example - the Indiana Department of Environmental Management was given a big boost in the budget at more than $3 million annually for 2019 through 2021 - a sharp contrast to the roughly $318,000 a year in the last budget.
Margo Tucker with the Citizens Action Coalition, said ramped-up inspections are a step in the right direction, but says waste contamination from CAFOs poses health threats to people and the environment.
"If you're at your grandfather's farm and an accident happens or a spill takes place, it's just on a much smaller level," she said. "When you jack things up to the size of a CAFO, you don't have 100 hogs; you've got 5,000 hogs - and you've got neighborhoods, churches and schools nearby. It's a higher-stakes game."
According to Environmental Protection Agency data, the number of new CAFOs in the United States grew nearly 8% between 2011 and 2017. Tucker said policies need to keep pace.
"We are a very agricultural state and we're proud of that, but just because we want to capitalize on our agricultural resources doesn't mean we should be putting our rural communities at risk in the process," she said. "I think that everyone on both sides of the aisle can agree with that."
She is hopeful that lawmakers will work on bipartisan solutions.