> Hey Russ,
> Thanks, one more time, for explaining who the NC farmers are and the
> flood's impact on them. I tend to hear and remember personal stories
> and experiences. Your brother's experience is troubling for me.
> You also have me thinking more about contract farmers. I've tended to
> dismiss them in the past, but began thinking of their aspirations and
> goals. They may simply be resource limited and see contract farming as
> an entry level step into a future independent farm...Hum.
> Good luck on the work for the doctorate. In your future work, think:
> small farmer, family farmer, community of farmers.
> Buy from the Farmer
I tend to think of contract farmers like the medieval feudal system. The
contract farmers are peasants, and the corporations are nobles. The main
difference is that contract farmers often own the land (although not always
the buildings, and never the pigs. I'm not exactly sure where the technical
points lay i.e. the buildings, however.)
The main point I was trying to make is that the farmer is completely
responsible for waste management and disposal (even though the animals that
produce the waste are not his/hers!)
Also, regulations have excluded hog farms (all animal production systems,
really) as part of the new EPA regulations for Municipal waste management
systems (that's what I've been told, anyway).
Let me also state, for the record, that I'm not a legislator, lawyer,
judge, hog farmer, or corporation, or anything else that might put me in
direct contact with these regulations. I'm a student who is interested in
changing an environmental problem into an environmental asset.
How? Through the use of composted swine waste solids as fertilizer. Swine
waste worked very well in the two year project that I worked on as a
fertilizer, however, it was uncomposted, was smelly, and required two weeks
before planting could occur (because of a flush of ammonia into the soil
post-amendment). I've been thinking about this for a while. If the swine
waste solids from some of the counties "Down-East" were composted, much of
the environmental hazard associated with swine manure could be eliminated.
Since many waste systems (i.e. lagoons) were destroyed thanks to Floyd, now
would be the best time to institute changes that otherwise would not take
place because of the expense of replacing systems. (Many of the systems
must be replaced now, therefore, why not put something useful, and possibly
create a value-added product from something that is definitely not
palatable. If anyone has handled swine manure, you know what I mean.)
First, by making a system where swine manure solids can be removed, taken
to a central location (either in a community or county) and composted.
Next, the compost could be given back to the farmers as fertilizer for
their fields, or sold to the public. The greatest expense would be an
initial outlay for the waste management facilities (which currently has to
be done anyway thanks to Floyd), system management, and fuel for driving
the waste to the central location. On site composting (at each hog farm)
might be more efficient, but the potential for incorrect composting would
Further, this system could only work in areas with a concentration of
animals (such as several counties in Southeastern NC, where there are more
pigs than people). I think it could be a viable system.
Of course I am an idealist. . . Two and one half years ago at the Emerging
Issues Forum (an annual event with different themes each year. The year I
went environmental issues were the theme.) I met our governor (Jim Hunt)
and spoke with him about my research, and what I've outlined above. He
asked me what I thought this would add to the price of each pound of pork.
I said that we would pay for it one way or the other. Either through
environmental clean-up (i.e. increased taxes) or through higher pork
prices. That was before Fran (1996) and Floyd damaged hog lagoons
Alright, I've said enough (maybe too much). . . I'd like to see these
systems put in place, but reality will likely not make it happen. . . Russ
-- Russ Bulluck Ph.D. Candidate Department of Plant Pathology North Carolina State University PO Box 7616 Raleigh, NC 27695-7616
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The soil population is so complex that it manifestly cannot be dealt with as a whole with any detail by any one person, and at the same time it plays so important a part in the soil economy that it must be studied. --Sir E. John Russell The Micro-organisms of the Soil, 1923 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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