CAFOs in Rural Mississippi
High density industrial hog farming operations present numerous environmental health hazards (including local air and water pollution). In 2001, Dr. Wilson and a team of researchers investigated environmental justice impacts of differential siting of hog concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) near African-American communities in Mississippi. They found that these hog farms were disproportionately more prevalent in areas with high percentages of African-Americans and persons in poverty. Today, Dr. Wilson continues research on this issue, studying the differential burden of chicken farms in Mississippi. For more information, read the abstract below:
The recent growth and restructuring of the swine industry in the state of Mississippi has raised various environmental and socioeconomic concerns. We spatially examined the location and attributes of 67 industrial hog operations to determine if African American and low-income communities have a high prevalence of industrial hog operations located near their neighborhoods at the census block group level. We used spatial data and cross-classification analysis to compare the prevalence of industrial hog operations in neighborhoods that are primarily African American and low income with the prevalence in neighborhoods that are African American and affluent. We also used logistic regression to evaluate the relationship between the environmental justice variables and the location of the industrial hog operations. The block group characterization showed a high prevalence of hog operations in the four highest quintiles compared with the lowest quintile for percentage African American and percentage poverty. At increasing levels of percentage African Americans and percentage of persons in poverty, there are 2.4-3.6 times more operations compared with the referent group; additionally, scale adjustment to only the hog counties reduces this to 1.8-3.1 more operations compared with the referent group. The inequitable distribution of hog-confined agricultural feeding operations in these communities may have adverse environmental impacts associated with industrial hog production, such as increased health risks and quality of life degradation, as have occurred in other areas having similar facilities.