Researcher Speaks Out on CAFO Study

US - The author of a Ball State University study on the economic impact of livestock production is speaking out after being misquoted by anti-CAFO forces.
calendar icon 31 July 2007
clock icon 3 minute read
Dr. Richard Heupel in an editorial in the Indianapolis Star, said his study showed that pork production in Jay and Randolph Counties generated $88 Million in economic activity and was among the top 20 industries in the counties.

Facts Help with Hog Farm Decisions

A recent report in the media quoted a representative of the GRACE Factory Farm Project in citing an economic impact analysis prepared by this office on the hog production industry in Jay and Randolph counties. GRACE reportedly concluded that the study offers proof that big livestock farms have very little economic impact on surrounding areas. These statements do not accurately reflect Ball State‘s findings.

Factual findings include:
  • The hog industry‘s output in Jay County has doubled since 2004 and quadrupled in Randolph County since 2003.
    This growth places the hog production industry within the top 10 in output among all industry sectors in each county.

  • The hog production industry in Jay and Randolph counties accounts for an estimated $88 million in direct economic activity (the hog industry alone) plus an additional $20.5 million in "spin-offs."

  • The hog production industry in these two counties pays $3 million in local and state taxes.

Ball State‘s involvement stems from a project titled Agriculture in Concert with Regional Economics (ACRE). In addition to the economic impact analysis, another important component of the ACRE project was a review of local planning and zoning ordinances that produced recommendations for smoother integration of livestock agriculture into rural areas that have become increasingly popular for residential land use and development.

Ball State‘s Department of Urban Planning led the ACRE project‘s land use component and the Office of Building Better Communities led the economic impact analysis.

Our interest in the rapid expansion of CAFOs in east-central Indiana was sparked by divisive and often incendiary public discussion including occasional remarkable claims supported by little or no independentdata or analysis. We became engaged with Jay and Randolph counties to help arm local public policy-makers with independent research on topics germane to the industry and its impacts on their communities and the economy.

In this role, it is outside of Ball State‘s scope to declare whether a $46.8 million impact in Jay County or a $61.8 million impact in Randolph County represents irrelevant economic impact, moderate impact, or significant impact; and we made no such conclusion. It is instead our role in this endeavor to arm local public policy-makers with independent data, research, and analysis.

Source: Hoosier Ag Today
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