My Imaginary CAFO


If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em, the old saying goes. So I’ve decided to stop fighting and just build a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) of my own. I’ve figured out the costs and … it’s as good as owning an NFL team, but without most of the head injuries… like the proverbial Cash Cow… only you don’t need a pasture! Here’s how you, too, can be a CAFO owner… in an easy 10 steps:

  1. First, I’ll designate a patch of my farm as a sacrifice zone. Twenty acres will do it, and there’s that boggy area next to the creek where nothing but weeds ever grows. I’ll just sell that 20 acres to a brand-new LLC that I’ll create on-line for $60. No assets in the LLC except the 20 acres, see, which I can value at, say, five thousand an acre. And that will be my down payment. All I need to do is pick a loan from the 25 or so that are available through SBA. If I put it in my wife’s name, because she’s a woman, I can get about a million dollars in loans for that 20 acres! What a great beginning!
  2. Then, I’ll find neighbors that have farmed away their topsoil and are so desperate for fertilizer that they’ll sign the easements I bring them. No, wait, better… I’ll get someone else to create a phony LLC, get an SBA loan, and become a pumping and dumping business. I should get a kid, to qualify for a youth loan. For the next thirty years, s/he’ll pump out the lagoons and haul it to spread the manure from the CAFO on their land. No liability to me, see, the poo belongs to them! So if it runs onto the road, no problem! It’s not my poo!
  3. Next, I need a construction company that specializes in digging deep pits and putting metal buildings over them. Easy Shmeezy. I’ll just call Iowa. The CAFOs up there are in trouble because of all the manure they generate, but I don’t see why. Des Moines got a lot of money to fix their water purification plant, so what’s the trouble?
  4. To run the place, I’ll get an immigrant… or a local kid that can’t afford college… I need someone who’s been farming for less than ten years. Someone young enough to qualify for a Young Farmer’s Grant. That kid can buy a shiny new truck and maybe some tractors with buckets to scrape up the carcasses. Then s/he can depreciate it out in a few years and re-sell it to somebody else for, well, whatever price they decide on … that tractor might even end up in Africa! It doesn’t matter!
  5. You might wonder what I can grow on that boggy 20 acres to feed them hogs. Silly you. I can buy grain at a lower price than I can raise it! The government pays the difference! It’s golden! And since I’m buying the feed, minerals, antibiotics and so forth for my farm, which is agricultural, I don’t have to pay sales tax! Woo hoo!!
  6. The gravel roads and bridges around my place won’t hold the weight of the semi trucks that haul my hogs in and out. The county will have to make upgrades, but it’s not my problem, right?
  7. And here’s a cool deal: To avoid paying property taxes on the hogs, I’ll just ship them all out in mid-December and get a new batch in early January. That way, I can take my family to Florida over Christmas AND there won’t be any hogs in the barns on January 1 when the county assessor wants me to count them.
  8. OK. It’s IRS time. I can write off the interest on my SBA loans, my business credit card purchases, mileage on my business travel. That trip to Florida ought to qualify, if I just take the family out for McRibs while I’m there! Sweet!
  9. After I’ve been in business for a year, I can get an SBA Export Express Loan–$250,000, or maybe a SBA International Trade Loan—for a cool $2 million… with 25 years to pay! No worries! In 25 years, I’ll be dead!
  10. Now you’re wondering what will happen when my CAFO needs repair. Like, say, all the ammonia and hydrogen sulfide from the feces and urine in the pit rise up to corrode the roof. Or there are cracks in the concrete walls of the pit. Well, then, I’ll apply for EQIP money from USDA to make the repairs.

I win again! I have to be sure to pay it back within 90 days of getting it, but no problem. My brother-in-law has a roofing company!! Ka-ching!!

And, the best part is that the 20 acres of bog is about as far from my house as it can get, and the creek will be a perfect place to pump if the pits get too full. Nothing there except weeds and butterflies!


– posted anonymously