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Resource ID: #30143
Subject: Agriculture, environment
Source: Gavin Off, Adam Wagner, Ames Alexander
Affiliation: The Charlotte Observer, Raleigh News & Observer
Date: 2022-12-01



In North Carolina, one of the largest agricultural industries is undertaking rampant growth outside of the public eye, despite potential threats to the environment and human health.

The state’s poultry industry raises more than 1 billion chickens and turkeys each year - birds that generate billions of pounds of untreated waste. Some of the pollutants seep into streams and rivers. Neighbors complain of extreme odors, and they worry about health risks and damage to their property values. But they have almost no power to stop the farms.

State officials cloak big poultry in secrecy. Environmental regulators don’t inspect farms that house birds in barns as long as two football fields. They don’t monitor where all the waste goes. In fact, they don’t even know where most of the farms are. State agriculture officials keep that information confidential.

2022 IRE Award Winner, Print/Online (written word) > Division 4

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