Empty Pastures: Confined Animals and the Transformation of the Rural Landscape

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University of Illinois Press, Oct 1, 2010 - Nature - 208 pages
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Over the past century American agriculture has shifted dramatically with small, commercial farms finding it increasingly difficult to compete with large-scale (mostly indoor) animal feeding operations (AFOs). In this book, Terence J. Centner investigates the environmental, social, economic, and political impact of the rise of the so-called factory farm, exposing the ramifications of the contemporary trend toward industrial-scale food production.
 
Just as Rachel Carson's landmark Silent Spring used the disappearance of songbirds as a jumping-off point for a work that raised public awareness of pesticides' devastating environmental impact, Empty Pastures sees the dwindling numbers of livestock in the American countryside as a symptom of a broader transformation, one with serious consequences for the rural landscape and its inhabitants--animal as well as human.
 
After outlining the rise of the AFO, Centner examines the troubling consequences of consolidation in animal farming and suggests a number of remedies. The issues he tackles include groundwater contamination, the loss of biodiversity, animal welfare, concentrated odors and other nuisances, soil erosion, and the economic effects of the disappearance of the small family farm.
 
Inspired by largely abandoned traditional practices rather than a radical and unrealistic vision of a return to an idealized past, Centner proposes a series of pragmatic reforms for regulating factory farms to halt ecological degradation and revitalize rural communities.
 
 

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Contents

1 Serenity in the Countryside
1
2 Changes in Agricultural Production
13
3 The Production of Animals
30
4 Concentrations of Animals and Water Pollution
48
5 State AFO Regulations
60
6 The Environment of Rural America
74
7 Agricultural Conservation Efforts
90
Illustrations follow page 102
102
Liability and Management
117
10 Accountability and Enforcement
131
11 Transformations in Food Production
145
12 Plowing Forward to a Cleaner Environment
158
Regulatory Agencies for Animal Feeding Operations
169
State CAFO Regulations
178
Index
183
Copyright

8 Odors and Nuisance Law
103

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About the author (2010)

Terence J. Centner is a professor of agricultural and applied economics at the University of Georgia. He is the author or coauthor of many articles in scholarly journals.
 

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