which shared a feed and hatchery supplier with WrightCounty Egg, recalled 170 million eggs.
trolled by the DeCoster family run nine egg connement
facilities in Wright County, Iowa, with 8.9 million layers.
After the recall, U.S. Food and Drug Administration inves-tigators uncovered a host of unsanitary conditions at the
facilities, including y, maggot and rodent infestations and
towering piles of manure.
Hog farms have grown dramatically, with thousands of
hogs packed into connement barns. In many regions, hog
producers have few potential buyers for their hogs. Thiseconomic pressure has led many hog producers to “get bigor get out.”
The rise of factory hog farms is noteworthy be-cause it happened recently and quickly. In 1992, less thana third of hogs were raised on farms with more than 2,000animals;
by 2007, it was 95 percent of hogs.
Iowa was thenumber-one producer of factory-farmed hogs in the UnitedStates in 2007, the most recent year for which data is avail-able. The number of hogs on factory farms in Iowa grew by75 percent between 1997 and 2007, from 10.2 million in1997 to 17.9 million in 2007. There are six times as manyhogs on factory farms as there are people in Iowa.The tremendous amount of manure produced on hogfactory farms is stored in lagoons and applied oftenover-applied to cropland. Smaller hog operations cansafely apply all the manure to crops as fertilizer, but largeoperations produce so much that some has to be shippedoff-site.
When lagoons spill or leak or manure is over-applied to farmland, it can run off into local waterways. Inthe upper Midwest, where farmland freezes solid during the
winter, manure applied to frozen elds also quickly runs off
into local waters.
Over the past decade, large-scale feedlots that fatten beef cattle prior to slaughter came to dominate the entire cattleindustry. Until the mid-1960s, most feedlots were family-owned operations with fewer than 1,000 head.
largest beef feedlots nish nearly 16,000 cattle annually.
Nearly three-quarters of the nation’s beef comes from theselargest factory-farmed feedlots.
As the fourth-largest fac-tory-farmed beef-producing state, Iowa almost doubled the
number of cattle on factory feedlots in just ve years (grow
-ing by 94 percent) for a total of 1.18 million cattle.The large number of cattle on these feedlots generates
large amounts of manure, and feedlots can ood or gen
-erate polluted runoff. In 2010, the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency led civil enforcement actions against
three beef feedlots in Sioux and Mills counties to preventunauthorized discharges of manure into local waterways.
One of the feedlots agreed to pay a $31,573 ne for its un
-authorized manure discharge into Mills County waterways.
In recent decades, small- and mid-sized dairy farms disap-peared and were replaced by factory-farmed dairies thatnow dominate milk production. Between 1997 and 2007,the United States lost 52,000 dairy farms about 5,000farms every year.
The number of cows on factory dairyfarms in Iowa increased tenfold in 10 years, from 6,401 in1997 to 64,531 in 2007. The average size of these opera-tions increased from 800 to almost 1,300.Small dairies generate less manure than factory farms andcan either apply it to cropland or incorporate it into pas-
0 300,000 600,000 900,000 1,200,000 1,500,000
The Average Size of a Factory-Farm Egg-LayingOperation