Spatial economics of targeting manure policy

David Letson, Noel Gollehon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Increasing specialization separates animal production from cropland, complicating manure management. To assist policy targeting efforts, we highlight areas where on-farm use of manure may be problematic. Matching confined animal production with land, on the farm- rather than at the county-level, gives our analysis an advantage over previous studies in avoiding aggregation problems. With manure-based water quality problems, data aggregated to the county level may fail to convey the heterogeneity of animal production across regions and animal types. Aggregation bias blurs the distinction between areas with specialized animal production and those that merely have numerous animals. We estimate bias from using county aggregates, show its distribution spatially and by animal sector, and link it to concentration. Ongoing vertical integration in agriculture likely alters in-county variability in facility scale and scope, and may influence decisions about which data we should gather and use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-193
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1998


  • Aggregation
  • Clean Water Act
  • Farm Bill
  • Manure
  • Targeting
  • Vertical integration
  • Water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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