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Livestock Farming

Each year, pollutants from tons of animal wastes from livestock and poultry farms make their way into the aquifer and springs.


Image of Runoff from large livestock farms can harm springsZoom+ Runoff from large livestock farms can harm springs © Russell Sparkman

Florida's dairy and livestock industry is one of the largest in the country, occupying over 700,000 acres of land. However, livestock farms can have a significant impact on both the quality and quantity of the water stored in Florida's aquifer. Each year, over 400,000 tons of animal wastes enter our groundwater through surface streams, sinkholes, and swallet holes, and through direct infiltration into the soil. Weeks, months, and sometimes even years later, these contaminants end up in our drinking water and in the springs themselves where they can negatively affect sensitive underwater plant and invertebrate species. Crops like sorghum and corn grown to feed Florida's livestock also require fertilizers and pesticides and water withdrawals for irrigation.

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