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CREATIVE SOLUTIONS TO THE ANIMAL WASTE PROBLEM

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

Citation:  Pp. 161-180 in Animal Agriculture and the Environment: National Center for Manure and Animal Waste Management White Papers. J. M. Rice, D. F. Caldwell, F. J. Humenik, eds. 2006. St. Joseph, Michigan: ASABE.  .(doi:10.13031/2013.20252)
Authors:   David Zilberman, Mark Metcalfe, Aya Ogishi

Animal waste is one of the most persistent environmental problems facing the nation. For over 30 years, the government has attempted to introduce a wide array of policies to address various aspects of animal waste. The problem, however, is that it will take years before a solution is reached, and one of the challenges in addressing animal waste is the multidimensionality of the problems it causes. Other factors that make introduction of animal waste policies challenging are the institutional and technological changes undertaken by the livestock sector. Finally, political and economic forces and constraints of information availability limit the feasible set of policy interventions for animal waste control.

This paper relies on views developed by economists and literature on the economics of animal waste in introducing proposals for animal waste policies. The next section provides an overview of recommended solutions to various animal waste problems, in particular, water contamination resulting from application of animal waste, storm runoff problems, and noise and odor externalities.

Most of the results in the second section were derived under the assumption that the livestock industry is competitive, but over the last 30 years, the livestock industry has undergone structural changes in the production system. The third section of this paper identifies and analyzes recent changes in the structure of the livestock sector, in particular, industrialization and consolidation. It provides the background for the fourth section, which presents new solutions to animal waste problems, in particular, emphasis on the importance of liability sharing for animal waste among growers and integrators and introduction of markets for trading in waste disposal rights.

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