FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Joe Rudek, 919-881-2913
Tanja Vujic, 919-881-2916
(Raleigh, NC - July 10, 2007) Environmental Defense today released an economic analysis that shows North Carolina can gain the equivalent of 7,000 jobs and add $10 billion to its economy if the hog industry moves from open-air lagoons to innovative systems for treating swine waste. The study confirms that public and private investment in innovative waste systems will bring economic benefits for both farmers and the communities that surround them. The study provides further evidence that incentives and cost-share programs can help make new systems that protect the environment and public health affordable for farmers.
"This study should end debate over the affordability of cleaner systems and refocus efforts to get these systems on the ground and develop markets for byproducts. Bottom line is that the hog industry will remain economically strong, and communities will become healthier places to live and work," said Joe Rudek, senior scientist with the NC office of Environmental Defense. "Now policy makers have reliable data showing that incentives and cost-share programs can help make cleaner waste systems affordable for all farmers. Public investment in cost-share programs will deliver big benefits to North Carolina, especially to the eastern region of the state."
"This is good news for hog farmers and for communities. Economic progress and environmental progress go hand in hand," said Tanja Vujic, attorney with the NC office of Environmental Defense. "Lawmakers now have solid evidence to guide them in making North Carolina the cleanest hog-producing state in the country. It's time to sharpen the pencils and design meaningful programs to put innovative systems into farmers' hands."
The study was conducted by Wilbur Smith Associates in collaboration with the NC office of Environmental Defense. Wilbur Smith Associates is a leading provider of economics and market analysis consulting services to various government agencies, including federal, state, local and regional agencies, as well as private sector clients.
The study is available at www.environmentaldefense.org/nchogeconomics.