Last week Purdue University released findings of a two year study of large-scale animal production in eight Indiana counties. The Community Impacts of CAFO project examined 50 CAFOs in Benton, Cass, Huntington, Jasper, Jay, Randolph, Wabash, and Wells counties. The 2007-08 study looked at demographics, labor, impacts on local government budgets, environment violations, and county planning and zoning.

Results show CAFO owners and operators are young compared to the general farm population, according to Janet Ayres, agricultural economist and research team leader. “We also know from anecdotal stories that we’re told, that this is an opportunity for the younger generation to come into agriculture. We also know that they have a higher level of education, so it indicates these are young people. They’ve gone on and obtained their education and are hopefully bringing that back to the farming experience.”

The operators are very aware of environmental regulations and how to be in compliance. Ayres said, “In fact, one operation even indicated that they had hired a person just to assist them in complying with environmental regulations.”

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