Information on factory farms is spotty at best. The government has been hogtied from doing more.

CAFOs have been a point of contention between the livestock industry and environmental activists since they began to proliferate in the 1990s, overtaking small, pasture-feeding operations as the dominant form of animal agriculture in the US. As the number of livestock producers has declined, the number of animals — hogs, cattle and poultry — has skyrocketed over the past several decades, in part due to rapid consolidation in the industry.

Manure digesters seen as best hope for curbing lake pollution, but drawbacks remain

It is no secret that cows produce two things in abundance in the Dairy State: milk and manure. Wisconsin’s 1.27 million dairy cows produce 3.2 billion gallons of milk and enough manure to fill almost 3,000 Olympic-size swimming pools a year, according to Steve Carpenter, director of UW-Madison’s Center for Limnology, who has studied the water quality of Madison’s lakes for 40 years.

New method of spreading manure under scrutiny

Scott Murray did not want to leave the home in rural Juneau County, Wis., where he and his family had lived for more than 20 years. But with the house surrounded on three sides by manure irrigation systems, life had become a nightmare.