Rural Dictionary: CAFO
We're excited to introduce a new monthly feature - a Rural Dictionary! Every industry relies on terms and acronyms that are used a lot, but not always explained. Our goal is to share a term each month that you may have seen online or in news coverage and provide a little more background. Have suggestions on terms to include in future issues? Just email your ideas to us.
CAFO, or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation.
A CAFO is a farm where animals are raised in confinement, either in outdoor pens or barns. A CAFO is usually over 1,000 Animal Units (One animal unit is equivalent to one beef animal). CAFOs may house beef cattle, pigs, chickens, turkeys, dairy cattle, or other livestock. These modern facilities enable farmers to capture manure, keep animals comfortable, and allow farmers to keep a close eye on their livestock. They also allow farmers to protect the environment by lowering feed usage, saving water, and using less land. All CAFOs over 1,000 animal units must have a South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources permit, and are regulated as to when and where they apply their manure.