The North Carolina Senate approved a bill to permanently ban hog lagoons and sprayfields as manure-handling methods within new hog facility sites. Other bills are pending that would have the state's producers use cleaner methods to handle hog manure.

The state's decade-long moratorium on new swine facility construction, which also addresses waste-management systems, is due to expire in September.

Because the bill sets higher performance standards for new hog-manure systems, it calls for the state to provide financial help for farmers who want to replace their lagoons with technologically advanced systems. The bill will provide farmers as much as $500,000 in grants if they volunteer to build more "environmentally friendly" manure disposal systems.  Farms with existing lagoon systems would be grandfathered.

Two bills similar to the Senate bill, are pending in House committees. Another measure awaiting action would create a pilot program to study the use of methane gas from lagoons to generate electricity. Finally, another proposal would simply extend the existing moratorium.

Source: Wilmington Star