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The Differences Between Production System, Production Capacity, and Ownership Structure and the Occurrence of Violations and Deficiencies on Permitted Swine Farms in Three North Carolina Counties

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  024148,  2002 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.10507) @2002
Authors:   Ronald E. Sheffield, Frank Humenik, Sarah Liehr, Greg Jennings, James Flowers and John Classen
Keywords:   Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO), inspections, swine, ownership, production systems, cropping system, manure management, land application

This study focused on understanding the factors that may influence the occurrence of regulatory violations on 108 permitted swine farms in three North Carolina counties, between 1997 and 2000. The goal of this study was to evaluate the relationship between swine production systems, production capacity, farm ownership, and cropping system with the occurrence of permit violations during regular and non-scheduled inspections of swine facilities. The majority of violations or permit deficiencies were related to the management of anaerobic lagoons. Lagoon liquid levels were observed to be within the lagoon's 25-year, 24-hour storm storage level during 17.2% of all visits. Lagoon levels were only found within the lagoon 1-foot deep engineering freeboard on 6.1% of all visits during a period of heavy rainfall from three tropical storms during the summer and fall of 1999. Significant differences were found between the occurrence of permit deficiencies related to wastewater discharges and management of land application fields and the type of swine production system. Generally, as the production steady state live weight capacity increased, so did the occurrence of wastewater discharges, lagoon management and manure utilization violations. Farms with less than a halfmillion pounds steady state live weight were found to have significantly fewer manure discharges than those farms of greater capacity. The ownership of the swine farms was a significant factor in the occurrence of all groups of violations studied. Following three tropical storms, contract and independent growers reduced lagoon liquid levels, whereas on many corporately owned farms lagoon levels rose or remained at unsafe conditions from the preceding year. The disparity between corporate facilities and contract and independent farms suggests that factors, other than extreme weather, are influencing the occurrence of high lagoon levels and other permit violations.

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