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Managing animal waste is a waste of our state tax dollars

POSTED: August 27, 2011 1:00 a.m.

I am writing in regards to Michael Wheeler's article Aug. 18, "UGA researches climate change on animal agriculture," adapted from Georgia FACES.

Being interested in horticultural science, I make a point of reading Michael's columns. It would be an understatement to say that I found most of the information contained in the column hilarious. In most civilized societies, one would have to be cleared for ridiculous to be privy to such government information.

For the most part, animal agriculture (in time past recognized as animal husbandry) was the subject of the article. Climate change appeared to be a central theme of Georgia's future in the industry. Grab your straw hat or your pocketbook, whichever seems appropriate.

Not only did the article mention global warming, it also appeared to espouse agriculture as a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. "Roughly 10 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions nationally are due to agriculture production," one quote read. Are we talking about horticulture, agronomic or animal agriculture? What percentages of greenhouse gases apply to the forestry, turf, golf course or cannabis sativa culture? Think in terms of "watch where you step" seems to be the main concern.

According to Michael's article, UGA researcher Mark Risse said, "But if we get to a point where greenhouse gases from poultry and livestock farms are being regulated, we need to have mitigation strategies in place to help producers reduce their emissions."

And just what kind of scheme is being proposed that will help producers of animal waste reduce greenhouse emissions? Manure management! According to Risse, with manure management, harnessing the gases as fuel is often a more economical practice than releasing it into the atmosphere. "You can use those gases on the farm as fuel instead of just letting them escape into the atmosphere," he said.

While I do not adhere to the concept of animal agriculture being a significant factor in so-called greenhouse gas emission, I do recognize the necessity of controlling animal waste. However, I find the concept of manure management a bit much.

Can you imagine how proud the parents of Bubba must be when he finally graduates from UGA with a degree in manure management? If by chance Bubba can't find a job down on the farm, he can always enter politics. Not only will he know how to manage manure, he should be able to shovel it as well. My advice to Bubba is, don't stand behind the manure spreader.

In my opinion, our agriculture research dollars would be better spent in developing dung beetles with super tumbling abilities. Thereby disposing animal waste as nature intended.

William P. Clark
Flowery Branch


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