Industrial hog and poultry farms don’t belong near our rivers

Neuse River after Hurricane Matthew flooded concentrated animal feeding operations | Rick Dove, Waterkeeper Alliance

The Neuse and Cape Fear rivers are the drinking water source for more than four million people and support a billion dollar commercial and recreational coastal economy. However, North Carolina is also the second leading producer of hogs and the third leading producer of poultry in the country. The majority of the animal production in North Carolina occurs in the Neuse and Cape Fear River basins.

Right now, hundreds of millions of gallons of swine waste and hundreds of tons of poultry waste from these concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are held in open lagoons or enormous piles containing bacteria, pathogens, concentrated levels of nutrient pollution and residual antibiotics that if released into nearby rivers and streams would cause significant contamination. In 2016, the flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew overwhelmed numerous waste lagoons and piles, spilling into public waterways.

Developed after the last great flood in North Carolina, the Floodplain Buyout Program has languished over the years, leaving CAFOs and their associated waste in the floodplain. The Floodplain Buyout Program has successfully worked with farmers to move more than 100 waste lagoons out of the floodplains of our rivers. Now, as the North Carolina General Assembly is considering funding for Hurricane Matthew recovery, it is the time to help farmers protect these iconic rivers by moving these operations out of the floodplain.

Take action

Tell your Representative and Senator in the North Carolina General Assembly to fund the Floodplain Buyout Program.

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