There are organizations, state and national, helping rural neighborhoods resist the incursion of CAFOs and helping farmers find alternative, profitable systems. Many of them also have the mission of bridging the gap between rural producers and urban consumers, a gap that is economic, social and even seasonal. It is a lot easier for rural people to learn about urban and suburban life than it is for urban and suburban people to learn about living on a farm!
The following list of organizations is not comprehensive, and if you know of an organization in your area that will help, send the name to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add them to the list.
Food and Water Watch. Based in Washington, D.C., this group follows national trends and enlists experts and citizens to advocate for good food and a healthy planet. From their website: “Our food, water and climate are under constant assault by corporations who put profit over the survival of humanity. They have seized control of the very institutions that were built to protect us. We mobilize people to reclaim their political power, hold our elected officials accountable, and resist corporate control—ensuring we all have the essential resources we need to thrive. This is a fight we must win, because this planet is the only one we get.” For more, visit
National Family Farm Coalition. With a central office in Washington, D.C., this organization is, as the name says, a coalition of state and regional farmer-based organizations all over the United States. As family farms are squeezed out of the market by their giant competitors, NFFC takes up the story and tries to help. A recent campaign points out that as industry dominates farming, they also take land from families and indigenous populations all over the world. NFFC also works with farm workers trapped by the CAFO system as industry marginalizes their work. From their web page: NFFC promotes socially just farm and food policies and empowers family farmers to reduce corporate control of agriculture. Visit them at NFFC.net.
Socially Responsible Agricultural Project. Based in Salem, Oregon, this is the only national organization we know of dedicated specifically to stopping factory farms. They have put together a team of experts in environmental engineering, community organizing, and legal advocacy. Many of them are farmers themselves, and they do not charge to advise communities, but you have to ask! From their webpage:
Factory farms, officially called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), endanger human health, damage our environment, undermine our communities, and abuse animals. If you need help protecting your community from a CAFO, contact SRAP today for free assistance.
Find out more at https://sraproject.org
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. Based in Des Moines, the work of ICCI spans all across the state. CAFOs are a hot-button issue for them. From their webpage, the list of accomplishments includes: Stopped 100+ factory farms from building or expanding; forced Iowa to comply with the Clean Water Act; recovered more than $170,000 in stolen wages for workers in the past three years; won strong ordinances to curb the growth of predatory payday lenders in a long list of Iowa cities. For more information, look at iowacci.org.
Jefferson County Farmers and Neighbors. JFAN is an educational organization from Jefferson County, Iowa, where they have managed to keep the number of CAFOs to a minimum when compared to the rest of the state. For all of Iowa, they have published a number of useful guides covering such things as the liability imposed on farmers that take CAFO waste as fertilizers on their own farms. From their website: “JFAN promotes and protects the quality of life in Jefferson County, through education and financial assistance grants. JFAN strongly supports traditional sustainable agriculture and traditional family farms – including livestock production. JFAN – Farms not Factories!”Check out https://www.jfaniowa.org
Based in Columbia, Missouri Rural Crisis Center (MRCC) is a statewide farm and rural membership organization founded in 1985 to preserve family farms, promote land stewardship and strive for economic and social justice. Most effective as advocates for fairness at the state level, they bring groups to the capitol to rally against corporate-biased laws that are flooding state legislatures now. From their webpage: Our innovative approach to family farm organizing includes challenging corporate control of the food supply, creating sustainable alternatives to the current farm and food system, and generating community participation to create a just, democratic society based on equity and fairness for all people.
Friends of Responsible Agriculture. Founded to fight a giant sow operation in Callaway County, FORAG has garnered a statewide reputation as an educational 501c3 networking with other communities facing the same sort of out-of-state corporations. From their facebook page: Concerned citizens organized under the name of “Friends of Responsible Agriculture” share & communicate concerns related to the operation of CAFOs in MO. Check out https://www.facebook.com/friendsofresponsibleagriculture/
Food giant Costco sells rotisserie chicken less than $5 per bird. It’s cheap, easy and available to Costco membership…but now they’re planning a giant–and we mean giant–expansion of poultry CAFOs in Nebraska. Learn more about the fight against the 400,000 square foot CAFO, by checking out Nebraska Communities United at
Family Farm Defenders. Started in 1994, FFD operates in “America’s Dairyland,” as the license plates say. They support sustainable agriculture, farm worker rights, animal welfare, consumer safety, fair trade and the right of communities to control their own food systems rather than depending on international corporations. From their website: FFD began as an outgrowth of two national grass-roots campaigns: demanding a national referendum to end the mandatory check-off on raw milk that funds the lobby and propaganda efforts of the corporate dairy industry; and to defend consumer “right to know” in response to the stealth introduction of recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) into the nation’s milk supply. Visit familyfarmers.org