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Georgia weighs profits of hog industry against pollution risk

It is the constant balance act of determining what is best for business and also best for the environment. Hogs are at the center of a current environmental/business debate in Georgia.

Hog farmers and local agriculture industry members want farm regulations eased in the state. Before a decision can be made in the matter, parties must determine whether changing current regulations would result in water contamination in Georgia.

Should hog farmers be able to have more hogs without being required to handle the manure in a more regulated and expensive manner? Easing regulations, according to farmers, would be an economical boost to hog farmers who currently keep fewer swine than they might want or be able to on their properties.

Where the issue gets messy is in the hog manure. Obviously, an animal farm results in ample amounts of animal waste. Farmers keep the manure in lagoons and then use it to fertilize plants. If the manure is not handled or disposed of properly, it can become a matter of environmental damage and community safety.

Excessive amounts of manure or the improper storage or use of it can become extremely detrimental in the case of a flood. Manure in Georgia's waterways creates an unsafe community, a situation that environmental enthusiasts want to be sure to avoid with the potential change in hog farming laws.

Regulators are supposed to make a decision in this Georgia debate by the end of the year. We will post an update when there's a development.

 

Whether regulations change or not, farmers have a duty to live up to the environmental standards of their industry. Someone who believes that the non-compliance of government regulations is threatening the land and its community should speak with an attorney to try to stop the damage. 

Source: The Associated Press, "Debate over easing pollution rules on Ga. hog farm," Ray Henry, Aug. 25, 2013

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