Maximizing Returns from State Investments in Nutrient Management and Manure Utilization
Animal operations in Georgia have been placed under increasing regulatory pressure due to their impacts on water quality. This has created an interest at the State level in the development of assistance programs such as cost share to aid the producers in developing environmentally sound solutions. Many programs propose to fund Best Management Practices at the farm level which may offer short term improvements in water quality but may not solve the real problem which is nutrient imbalance. This paper shall propose programs to facilitate nutrient management planning and develop or improve manure markets. These programs could be in the form of grants or low interest loans to encourage composting operations, energy production, expanded markets, or new "crops" dependent on animal manures. Not only will these activities reduce the amount of manure being excessively land applied on the farm, but they should also create more market demand for manure. In addition, the industries these investments could potentially develop will stimulate economic growth in rural areas of Georgia.