The June 5 letter “Hog-farm bill misrepresented” referenced me and my role as “designee” regarding the determination of “environmentally superior” technology for hog farms in N.C. It is correct that the research effort to identify such technology did not yield technology that met both the environmental performance standards and economic feasibility criteria established by the process. But the process for defining “environmentally superior” technology standards involved broad stakeholder input among academia, government, industry and environmental and community interests. All information related to the initiative, including detailed scientific methodology and findings, was transparent, documented and available for public domain.
The industry agreement with the State of North Carolina for this initiative required that “environmentally superior” technology meet both environmental and economic standards. Research showed that some technologies met the environmental standards, but none met the economic standards. Subsequent research has focused on improving the economics of targeted technologies while maintaining the environmental performance.
Progress is being made in this area, including technologies that generate energy from animal waste. Policies that would offer incentives for such technologies would likely encourage their implementation onto farms in the future.
C.M. “Mike” Williams
Director, Animal and Poultry Waste Management Center, N.C. State University