Factory Farms in Michigan
The silos and gentle meadows pictured on the labels of the food most Americans buy have little relation to how
that food is actually produced. The signicant growth in
industrial-scale, factory-farmed livestock has contributedto a host of environmental, public health, economic andfood safety problems. Tens of thousands of animals cangenerate millions of tons of manure annually, which pol-lutes water and air and can have health repercussions onnearby communities. Consumers in distant markets alsofeel the impacts, either through foodborne illness outbreaksor other public health risks, or through the loss of regionalfood systems. As consumers saw during the 2010 egg re-call, food safety problems on even a few factory farms canend up in everyone’s refrigerators. Even the producers are
not benetting from this system of production because they
are not getting paid much for the livestock they raise.The rise of factory farming was no accident. It resulted frompolicy choices driven by big agribusinesses, especiallymeatpackers and processors that dominate the links in thefood chain between livestock producers and consumers.
In recent years, 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.
Food & Water Watch found that although Michigan added114,000 dairy cows to the largest operations over thedecade (an increase of more than 300 percent), the growthof factory farms in Michigan was overwhelmed by the sizeand growth of factory-farmed dairies in western states. In
ver the last two decades, small- and medium-scale livestock farms have given
way to factory farms that conne thousands of cows, hogs and chickens in tightly
packed facilities. In Michigan, there were 871,000 hogs, 75,000 beef cattle, 149,000dairy cows and 8.9 million chickens on the largest operations in 2007, according tothe U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Census of Agriculture.
Concentration of factory farms in Michigan, taken from factoryfarmmap.org. Dark red indicates the most severe density.
Total Factory Farm Animals in Michigan