Animal factories buy land that could be cropped or grazed by independent farmers and put market pressure on others to grow and utilize more intensive methods. The presence of animal factories negatively impacts local economies by decreasing property values and removing wealth from local businesses.

Property values can fall by about 10 percent when a new CAFO is located near a residence. Animal factory operations often come with persistent odors, pollution risks, and insect infestations that lower market values for nearby homes. CAFO development can motivate locals and businesses to relocate, thereby shrinking the local property tax base.  This may require an increase in government aid to the community.

Owners of large animal factories invest less in the local communities.

Smaller farms spend two times more on local expenditures than larger farms do.


Livestock farms, which are more likely to be owned by large corporations, purchase only 11 to 59 percent of their inputs locally, compared to 85 percent for crop farms. Animal factory producers are more likely to hire as few workers as possible and purchase resources from other agribusinesses. Wealth from these transactions will not circulate within the community despite the companies’ claims to the contrary.

Consolidation and corporate power in the meat and poultry markets pushes small, local livestock farmers out of business. In the beef industry, four meatpackers process roughly four out of five beef cattle. This consolidation pressures smaller farms to leave the industry, or grow and become more intensive.

Without the market share to demand fair prices, more than half of U.S. farms lost money in 2012.


The value of meat products is diminishing for independent producers. Pork producers in Iowa raised twice as many hogs in 2007 (47.3 million) than they did in 1982 (23.8 million), but the total value was 12 percent less in 2007.

Reducing overall consumption of meat and poultry proteins, sourcing certified humane, organic, and/or pasture-raised meats, and increasing portions of plant-based proteins in your diet can support local economic growth and development.

  • Shopping at farmers’ markets has positive direct and indirect impacts on local economies. Farmers’ market shoppers in Oklahoma spent $3.3 million in 2001, yielding $7.8 million in direct and indirect economic impacts on Oklahoma’s economy.  
  • An estimated 795 jobs were directly generated from the success of these farmers’ markets.
  • Increasing consumption of plant proteins is also more cost effective for personal food expenses. The cost per gram of protein for soybeans and peanuts, for example, is roughly $0.20 compared to about $0.70 per gram of protein for beef and pork.