- DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The staggering amount of animal waste produced
on American farms often pollutes water, and the risk is growing as more
large- scale livestock operations take hold, according to a new U.S. Senate
- The study found that the amount of animal
manure produced in the United States is 130 times greater than the amount
of human waste, and there are no national standards for dealing with the
- For example, a single 50,000-acre hog
farm being built in Utah could potentially put out more waste than the
city of Los Angeles, the study said.
- The report is scheduled to be released
later this week, but copies were distributed to reporters by Sen. Tom Harkin,
D-Iowa, who called it ``the first comprehensive report to illustrate the
magnitude of environmental problems caused by animal waste.''
- The study was compiled by the Democratic
staff of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Harkin is the ranking Democrat
on that committee.
- The study said the nation's agricultural
officials consider 60 percent of rivers and streams ``impaired,'' with
agricultural runoff the largest contributor to that pollution.
- Last year alone, more than 40 animal
waste spills killed 670,000 fish in Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri, the study
said. That was up from 20 spills in 1992.
- Harkin used the study to support his
push for national environmental standards for livestock producers. He and
other supporters want Congress to impose national standards so states won't
undercut each other in an effort to lure the livestock industry.
- Farm groups have been leery of new regulations.
- The report also noted that the rise of
large-scale livestock operations - a growing trend among meat producers
- has greatly increased the risk of waste spills, because the large farms
produce more waste than can be spread over nearby cropland.
- Over the last 15 years, the number of
hog farms nationally has dropped to 157,000 from about 600,000, but the
overall output of hogs has increased.
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