Meat processing workers at Smithfield Foods in Milan, Missouri, were raising concerns about their working environment even before nearly 600 employees of a Smithfield plant in South Dakota contracted COVID-19.
Smithfield shut down its South Dakota plant indefinitely Sunday, and some workers in Milan fear it’s only a matter of time before the coronavirus overwhelms their community, too.
ByLeah Douglas/Food and Environment Reporting Network |
A community divided. A local official accused of self-dealing. A top political appointee ousted from his job. In Wisconsin, a state where the footprint of agribusiness is growing, the question of how to regulate factory farms is a pressing topic from the town hall to the statehouse.
When Jim and Kathy Kachel moved into their home south of Bagley, Wisconsin, overlooking the Mississippi River in fall 2007, they couldn’t see the Pattison Sand Mine directly across the river in Clayton, Iowa. Since then, terraced layers of limestone carved into the northeast Iowa bluff have made way for more truck traffic as the mine, which occupies 750 acres — much of it underground — expands. Meanwhile, the Kachels have had to clean dust from their home.
The number of new concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) have increased across the U.S. over the past six years - bringing the total operations just under 20,000, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency. From 2011 to 2017, the United States saw more than 1,400 new large-scale concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) established. That’s up 7.6 percent. Here's a look at the issue in maps and charts.