The opportunity cost of regulating phosphorus from broiler production in the Illinois River Basin


The Illinois River Basin in eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas is an example of a region where significant growth in poultry production has been accompanied by water quality problems. The primary concern in the basin is the problem of phosphorus in runoff that is associated with application of litter to crops. Existing data suggest that there has been a continuing decline in the quality of water in the Illinois River, and discussions have focused on developing and implementing a phosphorus standard. The specific objectives of this study are to estimate the reduction in poultry production necessary to achieve the reduction in phosphorus runoff under a set of phosphorus constraints, including soil test phosphorus, and to estimate the opportunity costs of reducing poultry production in the basin under each phosphorus constraint on the economic activity in the watershed. A mathematical programming model that incorporates poultry production and cropping decisions is developed. The parameters for the model are identified and then it is solved to provide a base solution. Model solutions are then developed for the different policy target levels of phosphorus. The model structure is modified to account for the presence of soil test phosphorus levels and the corresponding limits on soil test phosphorus throughout the basin. This formulation includes current soil test phosphorus throughout the basin. All of the applications assume that the only disposal option for poultry litter is land application within the basin. An economic impact assessment of the effects of phosphorus limitations in the basin is also conducted for Arkansas counties only, Oklahoma counties only, and all five affected counties combined.



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Journal of Environmental Planning and Management