What to Do About Pig Poop? North Carolina Fights a Rising Ti

What to Do About Pig Poop? North Carolina Fights a Rising Ti

Postby Oscar » Sat Nov 01, 2014 8:11 am

What to Do About Pig Poop? North Carolina Fights a Rising Tide

[ http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... vironment/ ]

The pork-loving state faces challenges in protecting water from contamination.

By Sara Peach for National Geographic Published October 28, 2014

From the air, the place where bacon comes from is a quilt of fields and woods crossed by roads and winding creeks.

On an overcast day in September, I was buzzing over eastern North Carolina's flat coastal plain in a single-prop Piper Arrow with retired riverkeeper Rick Dove and pilot Bob Epting. From an altitude of 1,200 feet (366 meters), we gazed down at the land of hogs: fields in every direction dotted with long, metal-roofed barns housing thousands of animals—and, shimmering in the faint sunlight, the pink ponds that held their waste.

The animals were destined to become honey-cured ham, bologna, smoked sausage, pulled pork, pork chops, bacon bits, and more. The meat would be shipped all over the world.

But before the hogs left the state, they would poop, a lot.

That waste is a lingering, stinky problem for North Carolina and other hog-heavy states like Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, and Indiana. Those states are the leading suppliers of meat to a nation—and increasingly, a world—with an abiding love of cheap pork. But residents must contend with waste from millions of hogs, which fouls the air near large operations and can contaminate local water supplies with germs and excess nutrients.

The dilemma is particularly acute for the barbecue-obsessed Tar Heel state, where swine sales totaled $2.9 billion in 2012. North Carolina gained national attention in 1999 when drenching rains from Hurricane Floyd caused waste ponds to rupture and flood, contaminating local water supplies. (Read "Carnivore's Dilemma" in National Geographic Magazine.)

Fifteen years after the disaster, the state remains the home of 8.9 million hogs—nearly as many as its human population of 9.8 million—making it the second largest pork producer in the nation. And despite a $17.1 million research project on waste options, it seems no one, in this state or elsewhere, quite knows what to do with all that poop.

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[ http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... vironment/ ]
Oscar
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