Ammonia Emissions from Industrial Hog Farming

Efficacy of Voluntary Control Strategies

by Lauren Kendrick

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Atmospheric ammonia emissions from nonpoint agricultural sources cause considerable environmental, property, and health damages while posing significant monitoring and regulation challenges. This dissertation explores the externality of ammonia emissions from the Iowa hog industry and investigates the possible impact of voluntary environmental policies (VEPs) to encourage ammonia control technology adoption. Mixed methods, including spatial and statistical analysis, expert interviews, and simulation modeling were used to estimate the potential benefits of reducing industry ammonia emissions; identify barriers to ammonia control technology adoption; model farmers' ammonia control technology adoption decision-making; identify promising incentive strategies to motivate higher levels of ammonia emissions reduction; and compare incentive strategies' real-world performance in existing VEPs focused on agricultural externalities.

Estimating pollution damages suggests that even a ten percent decrease in ammonia emissions from the hog industry would lead to substantial annual benefits in Iowa. Incentive bundles including awareness and outreach, willingness to pay for environmental values, and either financial or administrative assistance resulted in higher rates of ammonia emissions reduction in simulated conditions supported by examples of higher participation in existing VEPs. The findings suggest that voluntary approaches are unlikely to lead to more than 4-7 percent reduction in ammonia emissions from the Iowa hog industry. Offering financial incentives, incorporating flexibility into a policy's technology standard, and interacting with farmers through local service providers may help increase voluntary participation. Negotiating with stakeholders may help develop more binding policies to which farmers are willing to submit. Despite the limited reduction in emissions VEPs are likely to generate, voluntary policy approaches may still be worthwhile given this study's estimated value of ammonia emission reduction.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Literature Review

  • Chapter Three

    Relationship Between Hog Industry Characteristics and Ammonia Pollution

  • Chapter Four

    Modeling Local Environmental Damage from Hog Industry Ammonia

  • Chapter Five

    Estimating Local Benefits of Reducing Ammonia Emissions

  • Chapter Six

    Barriers to Adoption of Ammonia Control Technology

  • Chapter Seven

    Simulating Ammonia Control Technology Adoption

  • Chapter Eight

    Case Studies of Environmental Programs

  • Chapter Nine

    Conclusions and Implications

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This document was submitted as a dissertation in May 2018 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Craig Bond (Chair), Debra Knopman, and John F. Raffensperger.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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