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CAFO California — One of the Most Polluted Places on Earth

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

cafo california air pollution

Story at-a-glance -

  • California’s San Joaquin Valley is an agricultural powerhouse in the U.S., producing more than $17 billion a year in crops on some 7 million acres of fields
  • The region is also home to CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) animals, including cattle and dairy cows; at the valley’s largest feedlot, Harris Ranch, 100,000 cattle are packed in over a stretch of 800 acres
  • Agriculture, and particularly agricultural soils treated with nitrogen fertilizer, are a major source of air pollution in California, contributing 20 to 51 percent of the total nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in the state
  • Almond harvesting, which stirs up copious amounts of dust, dairy CAFOs, oil fields and forest fires also contribute to the toxic state of California’s air

California's San Joaquin Valley is an agricultural powerhouse in the U.S., producing more than $17 billion a year in crops on some 7 million acres of fields. The region is also home to CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) animals, including cattle. At the valley's largest feedlot, Harris Ranch, 100,000 cattle are packed in over a stretch of 800 acres.

While it's no secret that California is saddled with a sizable problem of air pollution, many people picture urban traffic as the source of the area's ever-present smog. Lesser known is the fact that, as news outlet Undark reported, trucks working for Harris Ranch drive a collective 6,000 miles a day just hauling food to CAFOs, releasing nitrogen oxides (NOx) along the way.


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