POLLUTION LOCATOR|Limits of Scorecard's Data on Animal Waste



ANIMAL WASTE LEVELS ARE ESTIMATES
Scorecard estimates the amount of animal waste produced in a geographic areas using data on the numbers of animals in an area and information about the amount of waste different animal types produce. Animal population data are collected at the county level by individual state agricultural statistics programs and compiled in the US Census of Agriculture. Waste factors are derived from the 1997 North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual.

SCORECARD DOES NOT CHARACTERIZE THE INTENSITY OF LIVESTOCK OPERATIONS, WASTE MANAGEMENT METHODS, OR ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH IMPACTS OF WASTE LEVELS
Publicly available data do not characterize the intensity of livestock operations responsible for the farm animal population in a county. Scorecard does not have access to information indicating the number or size of animal operations present in most counties in the U.S. (except in the state of North Carolina). Therefore, there is no way to assess whether the total number of animals in an area is from a few intensive, concentrated livestock operations or a larger number of disperse, family farms. Given these limitations, it is impossible to draw conclusions as to whether the animal waste being generated is treated and disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner. All waste is a potential pollutant - it is the methods used to treat animal waste that actually determines if it will pose a threat to the environment.

SOME STATES AND COUNTIES LACK DATA ON SPECIFIC ANIMAL TYPES
Some states do not have county data available for particular animal types during certain years. This results in information gaps for some of the tables presented.

Farm level data in Scorecard are currently only available for North Carolina, where more detailed data about intensive hog operations is available from the state Department of Agriculture and the state Division of Water Quality within the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

More on the assumptions used to produce Scorecard's animal waste data.