The Center for Food Safety recently released a digital map that tracks confined animal feeding operations, commonly known as CAFOs or factory farms, in Michigan.
Although Michigan is the only state available, the map will serve as a model for other states, according to the Center for Food Safety , which is a non-profit organization focused on organic and sustainable forms of agriculture.
The map includes the location and size of the factory farms and allows users to select layers such as: environmental violations, federal subsidies and nearby waterways.
Almost all of 75 factory farms in Michigan have nearby waterways.
A 2013 Alma College study that found factory farms increase water pollution downriver of the operations.
The nutrients found in high levels downriver of these large farms are the same nutrients linked to the harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.
A CAFO is defined as a farm with over 300 cows, or 750 pigs or 9,000 chickens among other animals.