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In recent months, Iowa policymakers have been considering proposals to allow the siting of large scale hog confinement operations in the state. At issue are the economic implications and the environmental risks for rural communities, and therefore the state, associated with large hog confinement operations. This is a sensitive political issue for rural Iowa since the regions economy is vitally dependent on agricultural industries, a major contributor of nitrate contamination. (U.S. EPA, 1994). Economic development efforts through the expansion of value added livestock feeding can generate additional income and jobs for rural areas. However, significant increases in livestock numbers would generate proportionate increases in the quantities of manure. Improper application of the manure to cropland may lead to nitrate contamination of surrounding water supplies.

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This report is published in Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Vol. 261