State Water Resources Research Institute Program


Project ID: 2007DE106B
Title: Benefit-Cost Analysis of Pelletized Broiler Litter in Agronomic Crop Production and Turf Grass Management
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 6/01/2007
End Date: 2/28/2008
Congressional District: At Large
Focus Categories: Law, Institutions, and Policy, Nutrients, Non Point Pollution
Keywords: Environmental policy, cost-benefit analysis, manure nutrients, relocation
Principal Investigators: Duke, Joshua; Mayer, Stephen
Federal Funds: $ 1,750
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 3,500
Abstract: Sussex County, Delaware, is a leading county in the production of broiler chickens. Broiler chicken production creates an abundance of broiler litter, which is laden with nutrients that partially runs off into water bodies creating environmental hazards such as euthropication. A key goal in enhancing the sustainability of poultry in Delaware is to transport excess nutrients - say, via pelletized broiler litter (PBL) - from nutrient surplus watersheds to nutrient deficit watershed. New Castle County, Delaware, has relatively low soil nutrient levels and is close to Sussex County. By encouraging farmers to substitute PBL for inorganic fertilizers, policymakers can potentially enhance social welfare by more efficiently allocating resources. Specifically, the gains to society from reducing nutrient loading in Sussex County is likely to more than offset the loses to farmers in New Castle County, who would spend more for PBL than inorganic fertilizer. If policymakers can implement a mechanism by which the “winners” is Sussex County can compensate the “losers” in New Castle County, then it is possible that all parties will win and social efficiency will be enhanced. An obvious mechanism is a state subsidy paid out of general tax revenue. Although the theoretical advantages of such a policy are clear, evidence is lacking about the feasibility of using PBL in New Castle County (or, any nutrient deficit region). Indeed, it is unknown by how much private costs likely exceed private benefits and it is unknown exactly what nonmonetary impacts are likely to accrue from PBL use. The specific objectives of this study include: (1) Analyzing the private benefits from switching from inorganic fertilizers to pelletized broiler litter on athletic and agricultural fields; (2) Analyzing the private costs from switching from inorganic fertilizers to pelletized broiler litter on athletic and agricultural fields.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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