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OLD SERA030: Southern Natural Resource Economics Committee

Statement of Issues and Justification

Project's Primary Website is at http://agecon.lsu.edu/%7Ekpaudel/Sera_IEG%2030_Proceedings.htm (direct link can be found under LINKS)

In the Southern region, several environmental and resource problems exist such as agricultural related pollution, water quantity shortage, watershed impairment from point and nonpoint source pollution, and coastal area land loss. Agricultural pollution emitted by animal feeding operations (AFOs) and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and the South's intensive agricultural cropping systems threaten water quality and the very health of sensitive ecosystem in the region. These problems will continue to grow as the region's dependence on row crop production and animal husbandry continues. While all states must meet federal AFO and CAFO regulations, enforcement varies greatly. Some state environmental regulations of AFOs and CAFOs are stricter than federal regulations, resulting in a movement of operations across state lines. The structural shift of animal industry has brought increased health and resource concerns to those areas of the region with weaker regulations or less stringent enforcement. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze the impact of structural change in the region considering ecosystem health and economy as joint products. Federal and state policies can be implemented to control pollution in the region, but balancing pollution and economic goal should be considered together. This requires cost benefit analysis to determine the benefit of having livestock and poultry industries in region and cost of having these to water pollution and overall environmental quality in the region. It is the objective of this group to provide needed information to federal and state agencies so that prudent decisions can be made that enhance the economy and protect the environmental quality in the region.

The Southern region is known for its recreational opportunities. From the Smoky Mountains to Florida coast and Louisiana coastal wetland, visitors are provided with an array of opportunities for recreation. It has been realized by the members of this group that necessary policies need to be in place so that these resources can be transferred to future generations in a usable form while at the same time ensuring that the present generation can use these resources in a consumptive or nonconsumptive manner. The major justification for this regional exchange group is to reduce the duplication of similar research and extension efforts and to adjust to scare financial resources at member institutions. Collaboration among researchers and extension specialists in the region helps to solve this resource-scarcity problem more efficiently. The continuation of the exchange group allows for active future collaboration among members in addressing the resource problems in the region so as to determine the economically feasible and environmentally sound solutions and to disseminate that information to other research and extension professionals, state and federal agency personnel and policymakers in the region.

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