Saturday, October 22, 2011

History of CAFOs

During the past 60 years, livestock agriculture has changed significantly. Over the course of the 20th century, meat production shifted from a local small scale practice to an industrial, large scale practice.

It is during the 20th century that the increasing industrialization of agriculture, including consolidation of farms, and the introduction of confined animal feeding operations or CAFOs.

Modern CAFOs or Confined Animals Feeding Operations became popular in the decades following World War II.

During 1920s, chicken meat was not an industry but a byproduct of egg-laying flocks. However, it changed when Mrs. Cecile Steele, a resident of eastern Maryland by mistake received a shipment of 500 chicks, instead of animal order only 50.

Rather than returning the chicks, she decided to capitalize on her error by building a small shed for the birds and raising them indoors for their meat.

This CAFOs quickly proved to be profitable in the 1920s.

In the 1930s John Tyson was developing the vertical integration of feed, hatchery and chick distribution, outsource growing, slaughter and processing. By 1950s and 1960s the company ownership contracting out of the growing process to famers.

CAFOs is the most successful system in the history of the world in maximizing food production while minimizing labor. Consumers have benefited from this productivity in lower food prizes.

As late as 1950s Americans spent about 22% of their disposable income on food, while today they spend about 7%.
History of CAFOs