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 Proposal – Concentrated Animal Feeding
 Operations (CAFOs) Pollution Prevention

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Environmental Problem Statement


Team Members

Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are agricultural facilities that house and feed a large number of animals in a concentrated area for 45 days or more during any 12-month period. CAFOs contribute to pollution in air, water, and soil, causing risk to human health and ecological damage. Combined, the beef, dairy, pork, and poultry industries generate six to ten times as much waste as humans. The major stressors associated with the generation and disposal of these wastes include nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous), sediments from runoff, veterinary pharmaceuticals (e.g., endocrine disrupting chemicals, arsenic, ivermectin, and antibiotics), pathogenic organisms, and atmospheric emissions of gases and particulates.

Definition of the Technology Challenge

CAFOs constitute a complex multi-media issue that necessitates a host of technology solutions to effectively address all of the real and potential adverse effects on human health and the environment. Solutions to this challenge include:

  • Technologies for characterizing and managing air emissions
  • Technologies for managing CAFO wastes, wastewaters, and manure that reduce releases of nutrients and pathogens
  • Technologies and alternative markets for CAFO residuals

Each of these solutions has a unique set of obstacles on the path to successful implementation.

Milestones, Actions, and Due Dates

Initial work will focus on leveraging existing activities with new projects that foster innovative technology solutions. The team will continue to meet to further define the approach and to identify milestones and responsibilities in a final action plan (to be completed no later than mid-November). Team actions will include:

  • Participating in the Regional Science Workshop on Animal Feeding Operations – Science and Technical Support Needs, December 6–9, 2004, College Park, Maryland
  • Developing a CAFOs technologies portal on the Agricultural Compliance Assistance Center’s Web site to provide information on technologies applicable to CAFOs; beta site to be completed March 2005, final site to be completed June 2005
  • Developing a list of technology gaps in order to focus research on necessary technologies that produce measurable results
  • Giving presentations on the CAFOs Action Team at the Animal Waste Management Symposium, October 5–7, 2005; this will be a follow-up to symposia and workshops held in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, in 1999, 2001, and 2003


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