As the growth of confined animal feeding operations continues in South Dakota, Moody County has tallied up 52 permitted such businesses, including dairies and sites that raise hogs, cattle and poultry.
That number is nearly one-ninth of the 452 permitted CAFOs statewide. In Moody County, those permits –- which include large CAFOS and small ones -- allow for about 2.76 million animals, including 2.6 million laying hens and pullets at Dakota Layers.
The county’s latest CAFO permitted is a massive dairy, Wildwood Dairy that opened this year, permitted to have 5,000 cows under 1,000 pounds.
But many of the counties CAFOs are permitted to individual farmers with a few hundred animals, rather than to corporations.
CAFOs are permitted by classes, and the largest – a Class A CAFO – can have 2,000-plus animal units, which is based on the size of the critters. A chicken or turkey counts less than a pig or cow, for example.
Moody County has 11 Class A CAFOs, mainly dairies and Dakota Layers laying hens, and four Class B CAFOs, which have 1,000 to 1,999 animal units. The category includes some swine operations and Dakota Layers’ pullet setup, for example.
Class C numbers total 14 locations.
Most, if any, of the recent controversies around CAFOs in Moody County have come from the building of Wildwood Dairy, where neighbors complained about runoff, poor road conditions and workers who didn’t seek permission of landowners when crossing property. In another incident this past year, neighbors complained about the smell of a swine operation that wanted to expand.
Large CAFOs have road-haul agreements with either the county or township, depending on the roads that are used, and some residents living near the operations have complained of poor road conditions.
The CAFOs also have created local jobs for the county and have brought in new residents.