Empowering Communities, Advocating Solutions


Image of farm at dawn.Agriculture sustains our communities, our bodies, and our environment. Over the last 200 years, however, the Jeffersonian agrarian ideal has changed drastically. Large concentrated animal feeding operations produce waste that if not properly managed can contaminate drinking water, sicken individuals recreating in our nation’s waterways, and lead to massive fish kills. However, this potential for destruction should not force farming out of our great nation.

Preventative and sustainable solutions are available, such as nutrient management plans, encouraging policies that allow smaller farms to thrive, and providing financial assistance to farmers to implement needed farm lot improvements.

Without local farms, more energy is needed to ship food to people living farther away from producers, which only worsens our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels and our nation’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. When farmers sell prime farmland to developers to build the newest housing developments, valuable open space is lost to impervious rooftops, driveways, and roads that channel polluted storm water to local waterbodies and watersheds. CCE advocates for sensible and sustainable agricultural policies to keep farmers farming while preserving the essential rights of New Yorkers and all Americans to enjoy clean water and quality food.

A Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) is a farm that raises livestock and seeks to maximize production by concentrating production. CAFOs can hold large numbers (some up to hundreds or thousands) of animals indoors. The large concentration of animals, animal waste, and dead animals in a small space poses environmental and public health problems. As CAFOs become larger, so do concerns about air pollution and ground water contamination.

Working for Clean Water and a Robust Farming Community

CCE is working to help shape important agriculture environmental management policies and decisions by actively participating at the table, engaging key agency staff, educating decision makers and the public on the threats from industrialized agriculture operations and the benefits and solutions for long term agriculture sustainability. CCE sits on the NYS DEC CAFO working group working to positively shape agricultural policies in New York. Additionally, CCE actively works every year to provide resources for New York State farmers through the Environmental Protection Fund.

Updated by seckel 8/27/15