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(Updated September 2014)

The potential environmental effects of animal feedlots, such as possible water contamination and foul odors, are a real concern for those living near one of these facilities. This field guide presents current government regulations, industry trends and studies on the impact of feedlots on surrounding property values. While most studies have found a negative relationship between feedlots and property values, a few have found a positive impact. (D. Shumaker, Senior Library Information Specialist)

Q - ProQuest articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the ProQuest/Find Articles page.

What Are Anim​al Feedlots?

"Animal feeding operations (AFOs) are agricultural enterprises where animals are kept and raised in confined situations. AFOs congregate animals, feed, manure and urine, dead animals, and production operations on a small land area. Feed is brought to the animals rather than the animals grazing or otherwise seeking feed in pastures, fields, or on rangeland."

Source: U.S. EPA, Animal Feeding Operations, Frequently Asked Questions

Feder​al Resources

Animal Feeding Operations Frequently Asked Questions, (U.S. EPA, Jan. 2014).

National Agriculture Compliance Assistance Center—Animal Feeding Operations, (U.S. EPA, Aug. 2013). Information about environmental requirements specifically relating to the production of livestock in animal feeding operations (AFOs) and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Animal Feeding Operations, (U.S. EPA, Feb. 2012). EPA definition of Animal Feeding Operations with links to more resources.

Animal Feeding Operations Fact Sheets and Outreach Materials, (U.S. EPA, Jan. 2012).

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO)—Final Rule, (U.S. EPA, May 28, 2010). Revisions to CAFO regulations in 2003 and 2008 are outlined.

Environmental Impacts of Animal Feeding Operations, (U.S. EPA, Jan. 1999).

Effects on R​eal Estate

Animal Feeding Operations and Residential Value: Summary of Literature, (University of Missouri, 2011). A literature review with bibliography of recent studies on the impact of CAFO on surrounding residential and non-residential land prices.

An Analyisis of the Impact of Swine CAFOs on the Value of Nearby Houses, (U of Northern Iowa, 2008). Large adverse impacts suffered by houses that are within three miles and directly downwind from a CAFO are found. Beyond three miles, CAFOs have a generally decreasing adverse impact on house prices as distance to the CAFO increases. [opens as a Word Doc]

Animal Feeding Operations and Residential Land Value, (University of Missouri Extension, July 2006). Summary of literature on the impact of AFOs on land values. All studies indicated that the impact of AFOs on property value was localized or limited to properties near the AFO. Most studies found a negative impact though a few found either a positive or no impact. [links to a PDF]

Evaluating the Effect of Proximity to Hog Farms on Residential Property Values: A GIS-Based Hedonic Price Model Approach, (URISA Journal, 2005). This study finds a negative and significant impact on property value from hog operations. [links to a PDF]

Living with Hogs in Iowa: The Impact of Livestock Facilities on Rural Residential Property Values, (Iowa State University, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Aug. 2003). This study finds that livestock operations have an overall statistically significant effect on property values. Predicted negative effects are largest for properties that are downwind and close to livestock operations. [links to a PDF]

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and Proximate Property Values, (The Appraisal Journal, July 2001). Property located near a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) will be negatively impacted by this externality. The degree of impairment depends on proximity and property type and use. Properties with higher unimpaired values are probably impacted more than otherwise lower-valued properties. Q

Measured Effects of Feedlots on Residential Property Values in Minnesota: A Report to the Legislature, (University of Minnesota, College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences, July 1996). One of the few studies to find a statistically significant positive relationship between feedlots and residential property values. [links to a PDF]

Additional Resources

Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: A Primer, (Congressional Research Service, Mar. 11, 2014). [links to a PDF]

Animal Feeding Operations—Links to information from outside CDC, (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nov. 2009).

Larger Farms, Environmental Policy Affecting Manure Management, (Amber Waves, Sept. 2009). Changes in the structure of livestock farms from smaller to larger increasingly specialized operations have altered manure management practices. Q

Animal Feeding Operations: An Overview, (The National Agricultural Law Center, May 2009).

Books, eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Pollution and Property (Adobe eReader)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Services. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Services at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Farm Appraisal Principals: gentlemen, scoundrels, professionals, (Austin, TX: Sunbelt Eakin, 2002). HD 1393 Su8F C1

The Appraisal of Rural Property, 2nd ed., (Chicago, IL: The Appraisal Institute, 2000). HD 1393 Am3a C1

Farm and Ranch Marketing, (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1998). HD 1393 R72 C1

A compendium: a guide to appraising specific property types, (Chicago, IL: Society of Real Estate Appraisers, 1973). HD 1387 So1c

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Effects of Hazardous Waste on Property Values

Field Guide to Agricultural/Farm Land

Information Services Blog

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.