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Copyright (c) 1994 Arkansas Law Review and Bar Association Journal, Inc.
Arkansas Law Review

The Emerging Legal Framework for Animal Agricultural Waste Management in Arkansas


47 Ark. L. Rev. 159


Martha L. Noble * and J.W. Looney **



Arkansas is a major poultry and livestock producing state. It leads the nation in the production of broiler chickens, with approximately 1 billion birds raised each year, and ranks sixth in egg production and fourth in the production of turkeys. Arkansas farmers produce substantial numbers of hogs and beef cattle as well, and the state has a significant dairy industry. 1

This level of poultry and livestock production generates significant amounts of animal waste. In 1989, Arkansas livestock and poultry produced an estimated 4.32 million tons of manure. 2 See Table 1 . During poultry production, poultry excreta mixes with feathers and bedding material, usually wood shavings, to create poultry litter. In 1991, broiler production alone generated over 980,000 dry tons of poultry litter, an amount of waste nearly six times the human waste produced by the population of New York City per year. 3 In addition, the disposal of dead animals not suitable for human consumption is a significant problem. Consider, for example, broiler production. Assuming a total production of 1 billion birds per year and a conservative mortality rate of three percent, Arkansas farmers must dispose of nearly 30 million broiler carcasses each year. 4

With proper handling and management, livestock and poultry wastes are potentially valuable inputs in agricultural operations. Both manure and dead animals can be composted, rendered, or processed in order to retrieve nutrients for use as fertilizer or animal feed. Improper disposal, however, creates serious environmental problems.

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