There’s a magnificently titled master’s thesis out of East Carolina University, “Flood Vulnerability of Hog Farms in Eastern North Carolina: An Inconvenient Poop.” Here’s the abstract:
In the late 1990’s, eastern North Carolina experienced numerous devastating flood events from hurricanes and tropical storms. When Hurricane Floyd made landfall on September 16th, 1999, it caused the most disastrous floods in living memory for the region. The flooding of many very large industrial hog farms, and the potential impacts to human health by swine waste contamination, was a matter of great concern for residents across the ENC region. Few studies have been published addressing the continuing vulnerability of hog farms to flooding in this region. This study draws on many GIS techniques to create new knowledge about the flood vulnerability of hog farms in eastern North Carolina in 1998, before Hurricane Floyd struck, and compare this with current flood vulnerability of hog farms as of 2013. The findings show that a majority of the most vulnerable hog farm sites have been removed from production since 1998, but a concerning number are still operating in vulnerable locations to this day.
This is actually a big deal. North Carolina is in the way of a lot of big storms and a lot of flooding. It’s also the home of a lot of cheap bacon. Understanding the effects of flooding, storms, and climate change on the commercial farming industry in North Carolina is very important.
Image by the Environmental Protection Agency via Wikimedia Commons.