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August 8, 2018

New and Modified CAFO Permits Suggest Some Dairy Expansion

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

New and modified Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) permits issued since February suggest some dairy farmers will continue to grow—some by building very large dairy facilities.


Data on new and modified CAFOs is being collected by Marin Bozic, a University of Minnesota dairy economist and his graduate research assistant, Gabriella Sorg. Data is collected from individual states where the CAFOs are being permitted.


Bozic says the numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt because he and Sorg just started collecting the data in February and they don’t know if the numbers on the permits translate to cows on the ground. Still, farmers typically don’t apply for permits unless they are serious about growing or expanding.


A total of nine new CAFO permits for dairy cows were issued since February: Two each in Colorado, Minnesota, Kansas and Texas, and one in South Dakota. Most of the permits are for large dairies. For example, one new permit issued in Texas is for 28,000 cows and a second for 4,000. The two new permits in Colorado were for 7,000 and 5,000 cows. One of the new permits for Minnesota was for 11,000 cows, and the new permit for South Dakota was for 9,500 cows.


Permits issued or modified since February suggest dairy farmers in the Midwest and High Plains could expand or build new dairies totaling more 80,000 cows. Here’s the breakdown:


Texas: 37,761

Minnesota: 12,783

Colorado: 12,000

South Dakota: 9,500

Kansas: 5,040

Wisconsin: 3,794

Pennsylvania: 205

Indiana: 200


You can see other breakdowns by clicking here.

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