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
Relationship Between Hog Industry Characteristics and Ammonia Pollution
Modeling Local Environmental Damage from Hog Industry Ammonia
Estimating Local Benefits of Reducing Ammonia Emissions
Barriers to Adoption of Ammonia Control Technology
Simulating Ammonia Control Technology Adoption
Case Studies of Environmental Programs
Conclusions and Implications