Rural communities, advocates and the general public are increasingly looking to their state legislators to reign in the proliferation of Factory Farms, also known as concentrated animal feeding operations, through moratorium bills.
Industrial livestock operations can wreck havoc on rural economies, the environment, climate and as we saw in 2020 are increasingly posing a public health threat to our workers, communities and the food system.
Moratorium legislation that either stops the permitting of new factory farms or phases them out all together is currently being considered in several states across the country and new polling indicates that support is only growing for this type of legislation.
What’s more, according to some new polling from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, factory farm moratoria looks to be a great way to get rural voters on board with broader agriculture reform.
Increasing number of voters support moratorium legislation:
- 51% of voters want greater oversight of factory farms
- 44% of voters favor a national moratorium on factory farms in line with the Farm System Reform Act introduced by Senator Cory Booker in 2020.
- Significantly, polling indicates that an increasing number of Republican voters (36%) favor moratoriums up six percentage points from 2019.
Moratorium legislation at the state level:
- Oregon voters are increasingly supportive of mega-dairy moratorium bills introduced in both the Oregon House and Senate for the 2021 session.
- In Rhode Island, The Family Farm Protection Act, a bill drawn from the national Farm System Reform Act would ban new factory farms and phase them out altogether.
- In Iowa, a state suffering from significantly impaired natural resources due to factory farm pollution, rural communities are calling for a factory farm moratorium.
As states look to address budget deficits, factory farm moratorium legislation provides a unique opportunity to support rural communities, small farmers, and protect the environment all without the need to appropriate funds.
In fact, moratorium legislation may have a budget positive impact. Oregon state learned the hard way when after permitting a 30,000 cow mega-dairy the state had to shut it down due to repeated environmental permit violations. The estimated cost to Oregon taxpayers to manage the mega-dairy’s mess was nearly $400,000 dollars.