Emerging Issues in Animal Agriculture

Michigan State University Extension has released a series of white papers on Emerging Issues in Animal Agriculture written by Extension educators and specialists. 

Air Quality Impacts from Manure Stored at Animal Feeding Operations Feeding Distiller’s Grains: Hydrogen Sulfide

Major gases that result from manure storage include methane, ammonia, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, which can be fatal in high concentrations. The purpose of this publication is to explore the dangers of hydrogen sulfide, which is the most dangerous gas associated with manure, and safety precautions that should be taken when removing manure from pits.

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Bioenergy From Farm Byproducts

By virtue of the diversity of crops grown and livestock raised in Michigan, farmers have several options to choose from if they desire to produce on-farm energy. The purpose of this publication is to help farmers sort through their options and make the best energy production choice for their farms. This publication will be updated as new research and technology information are made available.

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Manure effects on soil organisms and soil quality

While soil quality may be easily defined, it is less easily described; soil quality depends on many different biological, physical, and chemical factors, all of which interact to influence soil function and productivity.

Any attempt to improve soil health must take into account various biological and physical characteristics. The purpose of this paper is to explore the changes in soil function, disease suppression, soil structure and environmental effects of adding soil amendments such as manure and compost to soils. But how and why do such amendments work? These amendments can dramatically change the biology of the soil. These changes to the biology, in turn, influence the physical and chemical environment of the soil in ways that alter crop productivity.

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Sustainable Animal Agriculture

Agricultural practices are often defined as either sustainable or unsustainable. This categorization is subject to how one defines “sustainability.” The purpose of this paper is to explore the dimensions of agricultural sustainability and the need to view sustainability from a holistic view of a system that encompasses a wide variety of farming practices by both small and large operations. A broad and dynamic definition of sustainability for animal agriculture describes a system of sufficient and profitable food production that is independent of scale and includes complex interactions between agriculture and society.

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Swine Manure Storage Covers and Economic Tools to Determine the Payback Period

Most manure from swine is stored in structures that are open to the atmosphere resulting in objectionable odor and gas emissions that have led to nuisance complaints and court actions.

Eliminating or reducing gas emissions to open manure storage structures is possible by installation of a cover. An extensive literature review found little information on the cost and comprehensive benefits of installing a manure storage structure cover. The purpose of this paper is to provide the tools to estimate the economic feasibility of installing a cover, including estimating the savings resulting from reducing nitrogen (N) losses and excluding precipitation. Cover alternatives, capital and maintenance costs, and grant opportunities are also discussed.

Read Swine Manure Storage Covers and Economic Tools to Determine the Payback Period

How much does my farm emit?

Air emissions from animal feeding operations (AFOs) are receiving increasing attention because of concerns related to human and animal health, nuisance and contributions to climate
change. All of these concerns lead to the unavoidable question: how much of a pollutant of interest is emitted from a livestock farm?

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Economic Impacts of Hog Operations

For some time there has been concern over the net economic impact on rural communities of new and expanding livestock production facilities. As with many controversial issues, there are often “winners” and “losers” associated with local changes in the livestock industry. The purpose of this fact sheet is to succinctly summarize the current literature regarding associated economic impacts.

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Impacts on Michigan Communities of Air Emissions from Livestock and Poultry Farms

Potential health impacts of livestock and poultry farms on nearby residents is an issue that livestock and poultry industries have faced nationally, though the topic is dealt with primarily at the local level.

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Antibiotics in the Environment and Antibiotic Resistance

We share the world with a wide range of living organisms, from microscopic bacteria to gigantic whales. Although we cannot see them, bacteria are all around us and are a normal part of our ecosystem and our lives. Various kinds of bacteria are in competition with one another for nutrients and living space. Bacteria are specialized and fill various niches in the environment.

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Land Use Planning and the Right to Farm Act

After the passage of Public Act 261 in 1999, two substantial changes were made in Michigan’s Right-to-Farm Act.

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Water Quality

Perhaps the greatest uncertainty regarding potential risk to the community and impacts on water quality from agricultural operations is related to manure management. Manure land application has long been important in the process of building soil quality and fertility for profitable crop production. Land application is also important in manure treatment and pathogen remediation.

Read Water Quality

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