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Exposing Fields of Filth

Landmark Report Maps Feces-Laden Hog and Chicken Operations in North Carolina

June 21, 2016

Exposing Fields of Filth: Data and Methodology

Data provided on the maps represent estimations of locations and statistics in an attempt to accurately document animal feeding operations and their impact on the landscape. EWG and Waterkeeper Alliance assume no responsibility for locational accuracy, errors or omissions represented on the maps.

Animal Feeding Operation Map Attributes

  • County: North Carolina county in which animal feeding operation exists.
  • Operation: “FACILITY NAME” from N.C. Department of Environmental Quality List of Permitted Animal Facilities (January 2015) for all cattle and swine operations. For various poultry operations “OWNNAME” was attributed to the location from the N.C. Parcel Boundaries (June 2013).
  • Status: Operational status from N.C. Department of Environmental Quality List of Permitted Animal Facilities (January 2015); all poultry operations documented as “Unknown.”
  • Assumed Type: Animal operation category (i.e. Swine - Farrow to Wean) from “REGULATED ACTIVITY” of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality List of Permitted Animal Facilities (January 2015), or most common poultry type (broiler, layer, pullet, turkey) appearing at the county level of the Poultry - Inventory and Sales USDA AG Census 2007 and 2012.
  • Lagoon Count: “NUMBER OF LAGOONS” from N.C. Department of Environmental Quality List of Permitted Animal Facilities (January 2015), a count of waste holding pools for an individual operation.
  • Barn Count: Number of poultry barns visible at the location from Waterkeeper Alliance contracted by Justin S. Quinlivan.
  • Estimated Animal Count: Animal count from “ALLOWABLE COUNT” of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality List of Permitted Animal Facilities (January 2015), or aggregated count of highest number of poultry types (broiler, layer, pullet, turkey) between 2007 and 2012 from Poultry - Inventory and Sales USDA AG Census 2007 and 2012.
  • Estimated Waste Output: Annual estimated waste output calculated using the 2016 North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual, specifically Chapter IV-Fertilizer Use, page 62,“Livestock & Poultry Manure Production Rates and Nutrient Content.” See WASTE ESTIMATE METHODOLOGY below for more information.
  • Agricultural Land within One Mile:  Total agricultural land within a one mile radius of location point calculated using the 2015 USDA Cropland Data Layer.
  • Estimated Application Rate: “Estimated Waste Output” divided by the “Ag Land within One Mile.”
  • Data Source: Owner and maintainer of dataset.

 

 Watershed Map Attributes

  • Dry Waste Output: Annual estimated dry waste output calculated using the 2016 North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual, specifically Chapter IV-Fertilizer Use, page 62, “Livestock & Poultry Manure Production Rates and Nutrient Content.” See Waste Estimate Methodology below for more information.
  • Wet Waste Output: Annual estimated wet waste output calculated using the 2016 North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual specifically Chapter IV-Fertilizer Use, page 62, “Livestock & Poultry Manure Production Rates and Nutrient Content.” See Waste Estimate Methodology below for more information.
  • Total Confined Animals: Aggregate count of animals found in HUC-8, HUC-10 or HUC-12 Watershed.
  • Hogs and Pigs: Aggregate count of swine found in HUC-8, HUC-10 or HUC-12 Watershed.
  • Poultry: Aggregate count of poultry found in HUC-8, HUC-10 or HUC-12 Watershed.
  • Cattle and Calves: Aggregate count of cattle found in HUC-8, HUC-10 or HUC-12 Watershed.
  • Poultry Barns: Aggregate count of poultry barns in HUC-8, HUC-10 or HUC-12 Watershed.
  • Waste Lagoons: Aggregate count of waste lagoons in HUC-8, HUC-10 or HUC-12 Watershed.
  • Animal Feeding Operations: Aggregate count of animal feeding operations in HUC-8, HUC-10 or HUC-12 Watershed.

 

 County Map Attributes

  • Dry Waste Output: Aggregate of estimated dry waste within county calculated using the 2016 North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual, specifically Chapter IV-Fertilizer Use, page 62, “Livestock & Poultry Manure Production Rates and Nutrient Content.” See Waste Estimate Methodology below for more information.
  • Wet Waste Output: Aggregate of estimated wet waste within county calculated using the 2016 North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual, specifically Chapter IV-Fertilizer Use, page 62, “Livestock & Poultry Manure Production Rates and Nutrient Content.” See Waste Estimate Methodology below for more information.
  • Total Confined Animals: Aggregate animal count from “ALLOWABLE COUNT” of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality List of Permitted Animal Facilities (January 2015), or county-level poultry type (broiler, layer, pullet, turkey) from Poultry - Inventory and Sales USDA AG Census 2007 and 2012 within the county boundary.
  • Hogs and Pigs: Aggregate animal count from “ALLOWABLE COUNT” of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality List of Permitted Animal Facilities (January 2015) within the county boundary.
  • Poultry: Aggregate animal count from Poultry - Inventory and Sales USDA AG Census 2007 and 2012 within the county boundary.
  • Cattle and Calves: Aggregate animal count from “ALLOWABLE COUNT” of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality List of Permitted Animal Facilities (January 2015) within the county boundary.
  • Poultry Barns: Aggregate count of poultry barns visible at the location from Waterkeeper Alliance within the county boundary.
  • Waste Lagoons: Aggregate count of waste lagoons operations within the county boundary.
  • Animal Feeding Operations: Aggregate count of animal feeding operations within the county boundary.

 

 Block Map Attributes

  • Total Population: The total population within the block boundary. Data estimates from the 2010 U.S. Census and various U.S. Census surveys.
  • Percent African American: The percent of African Americans within the total population of the block boundary. Data estimates from the 2010 U.S. Census and various U.S. Census surveys.
  • Percent Native American: The percent of American Indian and Alaska Native within the total population of the block boundary. Data estimates from the 2010 U.S. Census and various U.S. Census surveys.
  • Percent Hispanic (any race): The percent of Hispanic (any race) within the total population of the block boundary. Data estimates from the 2010 U.S. Census and various U.S. Census surveys.
  • Percent Under 18: The percent of individuals under the age of 18 within the total population of the block boundary. Data estimates from the 2010 U.S. Census and various U.S. Census surveys.
  • Percent Living in Poverty: The percent of individuals living below the poverty line within the total population of the block boundary. Data estimates from the 2010 U.S. Census and various U.S. Census surveys.
  • Dry Waste Output: Aggregate amount of estimated dry waste within block group calculated using the 2016 North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual specifically Chapter IV-Fertilizer Use, page 62, “Livestock & Poultry Manure Production Rates and Nutrient Content.” See Waste Estimate Methodology below for more information.
  • Wet Waste Output: Aggregate amount of estimated wet waste within block group calculated using the 2016 North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual specifically Chapter IV-Fertilizer Use, page 62, “Livestock & Poultry Manure Production Rates and Nutrient Content.” See Waste Estimate Methodology below for more information.
  • Total Confined Animals: Aggregate animal count taken from “ALLOWABLE COUNT” of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality List of Permitted Animal Facilities (January 2015) or county level poultry type (broiler, layer, pullet, turkey) from Poultry - Inventory and Sales USDA AG Census 2007 and 2012 within the block boundary.
  • Hogs and Pigs: Aggregate animal count taken from “ALLOWABLE COUNT” of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality List of Permitted Animal Facilities (January 2015) within the block boundary.
  • Poultry: Aggregate animal count taken from Poultry - Inventory and Sales USDA AG Census 2007 and 2012 within the block boundary.
  • Cattle and Calves: Aggregate animal count taken from “ALLOWABLE COUNT” of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality List of Permitted Animal Facilities (January 2015) within the block boundary.
  • Poultry Barns: Aggregate count of poultry barns visible at the location taken from Waterkeeper Alliance within the block boundary.
  • Waste Lagoons: Aggregate count of waste lagoons within the block boundary.
  • Animal Feeding Operations: Aggregate count of animal feeding operations within the block boundary.

 

Summary Maps

Block Group Map - Animal feeding operation points were aggregated and summarized using 2010 U.S. Census data from the latest American Housing Survey (AHS).

County Map - Animal feeding operation points were aggregated and summarized using North Carolina county boundaries.

Watershed Map - Animal feeding operation points were aggregated and summarized using USGS hydrologic unit code 8 (Sub basin), 10 (Watershed), and 12 (Sub watershed) drainage areas in North Carolina.

 

Animal Feeding Operation Map Layers

100 Year Floodplain – Data representing the 100 year floodplain was compiled from North Carolina Flood Risk Information System “effective” and “preliminary” maps.

Impaired Waterway - Data representing the impaired waterways in North Carolina were compiled from the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of polluted waters – Implementing Clean Water Act Section 303(d).

Cattle & Swine Operations - Data representing the cattle and swine operations were compiled from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Animal Feeding Operation Permit (January 2015) dataset.

Poultry Operations - Data representing the poultry operations and associated barn counts were compiled by the Waterkeeper Alliance contracted by Justin S. Quinlivan.

Waste Lagoons - Data representing the perimeter measurements of waste lagoons were compiled by EWG. Lagoons polygons were heads-up digitized using 2014 USDA NAIP aerial photography. The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources Division of Water Quality Swine Lagoon point layer served as a proxy for known swine lagoons. Visible lagoons on aerial photography not marked with the N.C. point layer were also capture and classified as unknown.

 

Waste Estimate Methodology

Poultry Waste Estimates

To calculate the poultry waste universe, EWG took the highest county-level estimates found in the USDA Agricultural Census between 2007 and 2012 for “Pullet”, “Turkey”, “Layer” and “Broiler.” Those county-level numbers were then evenly distributed by the number of poultry barns associated within an individual operation, within the county for each poultry category (as documented by Waterkeeper Alliance). Manure outputs were calculated using the specific poultry type and count from the 2016 North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual, specifically Chapter IV-Fertilizer Use, page 62, “Livestock & Poultry Manure Production Rates and Nutrient Content” (see Figure 1 below).

 

Figure 1- Manure Volume and Weight in Typical North Carolina Animal Production Systems

 

Swine Waste Estimates

To calculate the swine waste universe, EWG used permit data from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to determine animal type and count. Manure outputs were calculated using the specific type and count from the 2016 North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual, specifically Chapter IV-Fertilizer Use, page 62, "Livestock & Poultry Manure Production Rates and Nutrient Content." For animal types that did not appear on the 2016 North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual, EWG used manure metrics for a similar type of animal. This was done for Swine - Boar/Stud, Swine – Gilts, and Swine – Other (see Figure 2 below).

 

Figure 2- - Manure Volume and Weight in Typical North Carolina Animal Production Systems

 

Cattle Waste Estimates

To calculate the cattle waste universe, EWG used the permit data from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to determine animal type and count. EWG Manure outputs were calculated using the specific type and count from the 2016 North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual, specifically Chapter IV-Fertilizer Use, page 62, “Livestock & Poultry Manure Production Rates and Nutrient Content.” For animal types that did not appear on the 2016 North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual, EWG used manure metrics for a similar type of animal. This was done for Cattle - Dry Cow (see Figure 3 below).

 

Figure 3- - Manure Volume and Weight in Typical North Carolina Animal Production Systems