We encourage you to explore the map to learn the landscape of factory livestock farms in Missouri and Illinois. The map’s icons are coded according to species and operation size. Additional information about and an image of each facility is available in the pop up boxes after clicking on the icon. Additional information about data sources and methods for the map’s development are available below it.


How to use the map:

  The Legend:

In the Legend panel to the left of the map, you can view the icons representing confined animal feeding operations in Missouri and Illinois on the map. The animal type represents the species produced for slaughter and sale at the facilities while the size of the animal icon denotes whether it is a Class I or II Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO), a designation based on number of “animal units” (explained more fully in the Data Resources section below the map). Some counties are also color coded if they have a county-level protection - such as a health or zoning ordinance - in efforts to decrease the health and environmental impacts of industrial factory farms locally.     

  The Map Layers:

The map contains different ‘layers’ of data that the user can select to display and hide while navigating the map content. To see more or less information displayed, select Layers to the left of the map above the list of species icons. Layers on the map can then be turned "on" and "off" by selecting and deselecting the checkboxes next to each.

  Search Function:

In the toolbar at the top of the map, you can search for a place or location. Select the spyglass. This will allow you to search for specific CAFOs of interest. You could also search for an address to see CAFOs nearby.


What is a CAFO?

Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) or more commonly - factory farms - are enclosed warehouse-type structures or barns in which animals are bred and contained while they produce dairy and eggs or until slaughter for meat. There can be tens of thousands of animals (depending on the species size) contained in these type of warehouses for most of all of their lives.

According to DNR: "In just the past 20 years, there has been dramatic change in animal agricultural production in Missouri and the United States.  These changes have included a significant increase in the overall size of individual operations, an increase in the number of animals raised per operation and a shift towards raising poultry and certain livestock within production barns.  Concentrated animal feeding operations, frequently referred to as CAFOs, are large animal agricultural facilities that raise a specific number of animals in production barns or confinement pens." Read more about CAFO Class sizes below the map.

Example Class 1A CAFO:                                                                                                             Example Class 2 CAFO:


We should care about this dramatic shift in meat production for numerous reasons. CAFOs pose threats to human health - both from meat consumption as well as environmental contaminants in the facilities' immediate vicinity, pollute waterways, and contribute substantially to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. Read more about these threats.


Data Sources

Missouri CAFO data: 2012 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit list from Missouri Department of Agriculture and 2016 list of current CAFO sites with operating permits

Illinois CAFO data: All CAFO inventory maintained by Illinois Environmental Protection Agency as of March 2016

​Missouri County and Township Restrictions on AFOs: University of Missouri Extension, Nutrient Management Resources for Planners, Missouri County and Township Restrictions on AFOs, http://nmplanner.missouri.edu/regulations/mocountyrules/ (last updated August 2007). 


NPDES vs. Operating Permits

NPDES permits are no longer required, so many CAFOs only have an operating permit. Some CAFOs that were on the 2012 list are not on the 2016. We noticed looking at the 2012 NPDES Permit list for Missouri and the 2016 operating permit list for Missouri that  list. This means those CAFOs may no longer be in operation. However, CAFOs can still pose threats to the environment and the rural community in which they stand even when they are closed down. Therefore, we kept those CAFOs that had 2012 NPDES permits on this map even if they were not on the 2016 operating permit list.


Class Sizes

CAFOs are categorized by class size. There are two broad classes, Class I and Class II, and Class I has three subcategories: Classes IA, IB, and IC. A CAFO is classified based on the number of animal units contained within it. Animal units are not the same as total animals. Animal units and Class sizes are explained in the images below.


For more information on class sizes, animal units, and other useful information, check out MO DNR’s Guide to Animal Feeding Operations.


CAFO Addresses

In instances in which MO DNR’s CAFO data listed business addresses instead of true CAFO location addresses, the location of the CAFO facility was determined by cross referencing DNR’s map of CAFOs with NPDES permits. After finding the true location on DNR’s map, we then went to Google Earth and captured an image of each CAFO’s physical location. These images can be viewed in the pop-up boxes that appear when you click on the CAFO icons on the map. If you click on the image in the pop-up box, it will take you to a new tab with a larger view of the Google Earth image.


What looks different between the MO and IL CAFOs?

In Missouri, we were able to separate out egg layer CAFOs from the other poultry CAFOs based on more specific information provided by DNR about which types of poultry are in each poultry CAFO. This information was not made available to us by IL EPA. Therefore, you will see that Missouri has an additional species “egg layer.” This does not mean that Illinois does not have egg layer CAFOs, we simply do not have information to inform us which poultry CAFOs are egg layers in Illinois.

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