Evaluating environmental management systems as a mechanism for regulatory relief in Georgia's poultry industry
Presley Fowler, Carrie Lynn Lynn
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As awareness and environmental accountability increases, the agriculture industry continues to receive negative attention for its environmental impacts. The concentration and commercialization of livestock production has resulted in increased regulations. The 2003 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Final Rule established a stronger regulatory approach for large animal feeding operations. Georgia poultry operations using dry litter systems were regulated for the first time. Environmental Management Systems have been used industrially for a number of years. EMSs use a step-like approach to meet regulatory requirements and remain compliant. A national project evaluating EMS effectiveness for livestock and poultry production is now in the final stages. This project studied the continual process in which producers develop policy statements, identify priorities, set objectives with deadlines for improvement and continually re-evaluate objectives and plans. Agricultural EMSs can potentially reduce regulatory pressure, improve agriculture’s public image and protect the environment.