Statement by the Animal Agriculture Alliance Coalition on Economic and Social Impacts of Animal Agriculture
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Research that has emerged over the past 25 years shows minimal negative affects to local communities from the changing structure of animal agriculture. For example, recent studies addressing the quality of life, community economic well-being, and the quality of the social fabric in Iowa's pork producing regions suggest that communities are not negatively affected by the expansion of swine production. In fact, in some settings, these communities have benefited from pork production. Also, several studies indicate that livestock production benefits land values and residential growth.
Like numerous sectors of the United States economy, livestock farmers have changed with the times. Because the market price for farm animals has not kept up with inflation, farmers have found it necessary to increase the size of their operations to make a living. Contract production is an attractive option for some because it adds cash flow to a farming operation with little or no market risk.
Livestock producers live in the communities in which they farm and have a deep-rooted interest in protecting natural resources. Using manure as fertilizer is a practice as old as agriculture itself. Today's farmers develop nutrient management plans to responsibly utilize manure generated by farm animals while protecting water sources. These plans ensure that the amount of nutrients applied to the land is balanced with the amount required to support crop growth while enhancing the soil's ability to support plant growth.
Livestock farmers hold themselves responsible for protecting animal caretakers. Farm worker training is important in order to ensure good care for the animal and to protect the caretaker, which is why farming operations participate in certification programs, distance-learning courses and other means for continuing education on animal care.
- Farmers enhance their communities with local sales and property tax payments, charitable donations, and volunteer work
- It is a farmer's highest priority to raise animals for food in a manner that is responsible to the animals, environment, and society
- Farmers have increased the size of their operations in response to the new marketplace
- Livestock farmers protect their workers with educational programs
- Recent studies show that communities near large livestock operations are not necessarily negatively affected and sometimes benefit
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