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Managing manure is not a waste of taxpayers’ money

POSTED: September 3, 2011 1:00 a.m.

In response to William Clark's letter, "Managing animal water being a waste of our state tax dollars," I would like to point out that the climate change grant referenced in the article was a federal grant and no state funds are being expended on that project.

Nevertheless, the state does invest funding through the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the Georgia Environmental protection division and through the University of Georgia in improving manure management through both research and education. This funding is critical in not only helping producers manage their operations as efficiently as possible but also helping us to protect our state's natural resources.

All larger animal feeding operations in Georgia are required by law to attend certified operator courses and to develop and implement nutrient management plans. UGA and the Agriculture Department teach these courses and work with producers on their nutrient management plans.
We hope that Lake Lanier benefits from these efforts.

I also do not feel the article "espouses" agriculture as a significant source. In my opinion, 10 percent is a relatively minor contribution. Furthermore, we do not intend to propose any sort of regulatory scheme to control these emissions.

If, however, others do propose to regulate these minor emissions, we do think it would be prudent to understand some possible strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Energy conservation, improved efficiency and collection and treatment or utilization of manure gases are all under consideration.

Finally, while none of my students has been named Bubba, several of them were proud to graduate with knowledge related to manure management. Most don't stand behind the manure spreaders, but some have designed new and improved manure spreaders. They have also gone on to work for state and federal agencies, agricultural and environmental consulting firms and private industry.

Indeed, you don't have to even look beyond Gainesville to find companies focused on improved manure management.

Dr. Mark Risse
University of Georgia Engineering


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