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A Look at Confined Feeding Operations in Indiana

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Confined Feeding Operations (CFOs) offer an efficient system to feed and house animals through specialization, increased facility size and close confinement of animals. There are roughly 19,496 CFOs in the United States. Indiana has close to 2,000 CFOs that are regulated by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) at the state level.

Although the state regulates CFOs, Indiana counties have the option of adopting planning and zoning, and many Indiana counties operate under zoning ordinances that specify where CFOs can be located within the county. CFOs may be restricted to certain zoning districts, and may be subject to setbacks or buffers that further define where the farms can locate.

The Purdue College of Agriculture created a website designed to provide information for individuals involved in the CFO siting process, namely county plan commission members, Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) members, and planning professionals (the general public is always welcome). The site is not designed to promote certain types of livestock production. Rather, we aim to provide information so individuals can make informed decisions on matters that affect their communities.

The Purdue Agriculture Confined Feeding Operations (CFOs) site brings together a wealth of resources for decision-makers from across the college and beyond. Including information on how animal agriculture is regulated in Indiana, the state of current research on a number of issues related to CFOs and Purdue Extension’s inventory and research of CFO provisions in county zoning ordinances. These resources are intended to help communities in making local land use policy decisions. The team is also available for presentations and workshops. 

Tamara Ogle is a Purdue Extension Community Development regional educator for the East District. She was part of a research team that studied Indiana County zoning ordinances as they apply to CFOs. The results of this study can be viewed here. Tamara can be reached at togle@purdue.edu.

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