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Brigid Sullivan
July 24th, 2007

Factory Farm Map

The Map

Our goal in making the map was to illustrate the number of animals on factory farms in each state and county, as well as the number of factory farms in each state and county. We wanted to map this information to show how animal production is becoming concentrated in different regions.

We could not get information from all the states about the number of animals found on specific confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs or factory farms) in their states. The data we used to generate the map was obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture and is an aggregate of the number of animals being raised on large (i.e. CAFO) facilities in a given county or state.

Where to See It

You can access the map through our website and at www.factoryfarmmap.org

What It Shows

The map can be used in two different “views.” One shows the number of factory-farmed animals in a given area. The other shows the number of facilities in a given area.  These views can be switched with the tabs at the top of the map. The map does not show how many animals are on a particular factory farm, because this type of data is not publicly available through USDA.

The “data card” at the right gives some specific numbers for states or counties.

The “combination” feature, which is activated by clicking on the box below the tabs on the bottom of the map, shows that some parts of the country are home to more than one type of operation.  We could not combine chickens in with other types of animals because of issues with data availability.

For the cattle/dairy/hog combination map we created a ranking of a particular state or county’s factory farm profile relative to the national total. We assigned scores for each animal category based on the number of animals in that state or county relative to the total number of animals of that type in the country. We did this because one cow is not the same as one pig when it comes to the environmental impact of factory farms.

Data

The data used to create our map is from the USDA’s 2002 Census of Agriculture. We used the categories of data in the Census that best match the Environmental Protection Agency’s definition for a confined animal feeding operation. The EPA’s definition of a CAFO is complex, and the USDA’s Census does not classify data based on the exact same criteria. However, the Census categories used to make our map are measurements of large-scale animal facilities that best match the EPA criteria. (This is explained in more detail in the Methodology section of the map.)

Places on the map that are white are areas where the USDA database did not list any data. This is done if there is only one facility in a particular state or county because the USDA will not give out information on the number of animals in that case because it would identify how many animals are on that particular CAFO.

What does your cattle map show?

Our map displays the number of cattle on feedlots that hold 500 or more cattle and the number of feedlots that hold 500 or more cattle. Cattle on farms that have less than 500 head or farms that have less than 500 head are not counted in our map.

What does your dairy map show?

Our map displays the number of dairy cows on facilities with 500 or more dairy cows, and the number of dairy facilities that hold 500 or more cows. Dairy cows on farms that have less than 500 head, or farms that have less than 500 head, are not counted in our map.

What does your hog map show?

Our map displays the number of hogs on facilities with 1,000 or more hogs, and the number of hog facilities that house 1,000 or more hogs. Hogs on farms with less than 1,000 hogs, or farms that have less than 1,000 hogs, are not counted in our map.

What do your chicken maps show?

The map shows two types of chickens: broilers (raised for their meat) and layers (used to lay eggs). The map displays the number of broiler chickens on facilities with 500,00 or more broilers sold per year and the number of broiler chicken facilities with 500,000 or more sold per year.  Broiler chickens on farms with less than 500,000 birds, or farms with less than 500,000 birds, are not counted in our map.

We divided the number we received from USDA’s Census of Agriculture by 5.5, because there is an average of 5.5 batches of broilers produced per year at any given facility. Therefore, dividing by 5.5 shows the number of broilers present at a facility at any given time.

The map also displays the number of layer chickens on facilities of 100,000 or more layers and the number of layer chicken facilities of 100,000 or more.  Layer chickens on farms with less than 100,000 birds, or farms with less than 100,000 birds, are not counted in our map.

Why are there no values for number of chickens on the county level?

The USDA’s 2002 Census of Agriculture does not provide this information. For the county level, we only graph the number of large-scale chicken facilities.