Mallory Daily's project explores emerging tensions between two of the most prominent industries in rural America: industrial agriculture and recreational tourism. When concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) propose to move near protected waterways, some rural residents in the Midwest are abandoning traditional pro-agribusiness sentiments to oppose their continued development.
CAFOs are industrial facilities that raise livestock as efficiently as possible for meat, egg, or dairy production. While they vary in size, CAFOs often house thousands of animals in tight quarters with little to no access to the outdoors. The millions of gallons of manure produced by these animals are typically stored on the property in outdoor lagoons or underground storage pits until the manure is transported off-site and applied to nearby farm fields. Opponents of CAFOs are concerned about the risks such a large concentration of animal waste can pose to environmentally sensitive areas and to sources of drinking water for humans.
Daily travels to Iowa and Arkansas to better understand community resistance to these facilities, focusing specifically on cross-the-aisle efforts that call upon state and local governments to increase oversight, transparency, and accountability when permitting CAFOs. Her reporting takes her to the Buffalo River watershed, where a CAFO moratorium has been proposed, and to northeastern Iowa, where controversy has ensued over the approval of a cattle feedlot near one of the few protected cold-water trout streams in the state.