A new U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA ERS) report provides information about trends and developments in hog manure management during the period from 1998 to 2009. The report is based on data collected in three national surveys of hog farmers during the 11-year period.

According to report authors Nigel Key, William D. McBride, Marc Ribaudo and Stacy Sneeringer, structural changes in the hog sector altered manure storage and handling methods during the study period. Changes to the Clean Water Act, state regulations and local conflicts over air quality also affected manure management decisions. The authors examine how the use of nutrient management plans and practices such as controlled manure application rates vary with scale of production and how these practices changed over the study period.

The report notes that in the past decade, hog production has increasingly become consolidated, with larger operations producing a greater volume of hog manure on smaller areas. With less cropland for spreading the manure, hog farmers may be compensating through more effective manure management. The findings further suggest that environmental policy has influenced conservation-compatible manure management practices. This report is an update of an earlier report entitled, "Changes in Manure Management in the Hog Sector: 1998-2004." Read the report online at www.ers.usda.gov/.