What is the future of industrial confinement animal feeding operations in Bedford County, Virginia?[/caption]
From the News and Advance:
An effort by some Bedford County farmers to adjust zoning regulations to allow larger factory-like farming operations faces opposition from those saying they will harm the community.
Proponents say the setback for poultry and swine are only being changed so that they are equal to that of beef and dairy cattle.
They say concentrated animal feeding operations — for example, a confined poultry house with 30,000-plus chickens — will give small farmers definite income to balance the risks of crop farming.
Opponents say the operations will have a negative impact on Bedford County farmers, the economy and environment. They also say a decision is being rushed.
A joint public hearing of the planning commission and board of supervisors will be held Monday about the setback requirements, which would cut the distance concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, can be built from property lines, dwellings, residential subdivisions, public facilities, streams and public water sources.
The operations are not banned in Bedford County. The setback requirements, however, are such that there are few if any parcels in the county large enough to meet them for poultry and swine.
Under the proposal, the setbacks would be reduced dramatically for poultry and swine to match that of cattle.
Currently, a poultry operation must be set back 1,000 feet from a property line. Swine operations must be set back 2,500 feet. The new requirements would set them at the minimum applied to beef or dairy cattle, which is 250 feet. Similar cuts were made for every setback category.