Quality of Life Resources
This report is a summary of over 50 years of research on the relationship between community well-being and non-family industrialized farming. The objectives of the report are 1) to compile a record of the type of research that has been conducted regarding this issue, 2) to assess whether this body of research has uncovered adverse effects on community life, and 3) to delineate which aspects of community life might be placed at risk by industrialized farming. After reviewing the available evidence, the author concludes that “public concern about the detrimental community impacts of industrialized farming is warranted.”
The Great Agricultural Transition: Crisis, Change, and Social Consequences of Twentieth Century US FarmingThis article in the Annual Review of Sociology describes the “national abandonment of farming as a livelihood strategy” in the United States in the past century. It also offers research on the contemporary farm population, an area of study that has previously been “confined to specialty publications…”
This paper evaluates 51 studies (dating from the 1930’s) to the present) on the impacts of industrial farming on community well-being. 57% of these studies found “largely detrimental impacts,” 25% found mixed impacts and 18% found no detrimental impacts. Indicators that were used to assess adverse impacts included environmental conditions, community social fabric and socioeconomic conditions.
This paper by the Workgroup on Community and Socioeconomic Issues discusses the principles that define healthy rural communities. It also evaluates the impact of CAFOs on rural community health. Finally it makes recommendations for policy changes, including limiting animal density per watershed and mandating environmental impact statements
This paper addresses the potential for environmental research to document exposures and health effects that derive from unequal relationships between communities of low income or people of color and institutions that profit from policies and activities that burden these communities. Benefits to such institutions include revenue, federal and state services or funding and avoidance of wastes. Researchers from relatively privileged institutions may experience conflicts of interest when conducting research on behalf of, or in collaboration with such communities. The article describes an example of how these issues of social responsibility and research ethics were addressed in the context of environmental health research on industrialized hog production in North Carolina.
This epidemiological study was conducted in eastern North Carolina where high-density industrial swine production takes place in communities of low-income people and people of color. The study design references the precepts of the environmental justice movement. The authors investigated the impacts of industrial agricultural pollution on the health and quality of life of neighboring communities while providing opportunities for community education and organizing.
Livestock farming has undergone a significant transformation in the past few decades. Production has shifted from smaller, family-owned farms to large farms that often have corporate contracts. Most meat and dairy products now are produced on large farms with single species buildings or open-air pens (MacDonald & McBride, 2009).
Quality of Life Resources used with permission from Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture.