An Investigation of Polices for Controlling Groundwater Pollution from Confined Animal Feeding Operations
University of California Riverside
Animal waste from confined animal feeding operations (AFOs) is a significant contributor to the nitrate contamination of groundwater. Some manures also contain heavy metals and salts that may build up either in cropland or groundwater and cause crop production to decline. To find efficient policies for pollution reduction at the farm level, an environmental-economic modeling framework for representative animal feeding operations is developed, where the owner of the operation is a profit-maximizer subject to environmental regulations. The model incorporates various components such as herd management, cropping systems, water sources, irrigation methods, waste disposal options, nitrate cycling, and pollutant emissions. Policies such as pricing emissions to groundwater, or emissions to downstream groundwater basins, are compared with the standard approach of limiting the amount of manure that may be applied to fields.