Man vs. manure: Examining the effects of residential demand on dairy farming in rural America
Spatial concerns are growing in many rural regions in the United States. Exurban sprawl and residential development can often surge past urban boundaries and encroach on historically rural areas. These emerging “co-existence” problems affect both farms and non-farming rural residents. One area of particular concern has been zoning and land use regulation laws associated with livestock waste handling. In this research, we develop an agent based simulation/case example of a representative county in rural Vermont to illustrate how the proximity of non-farm rural residents (NFRRs) to existing dairy farms in the region can curtail potential farm expansion, primarily through laws governing livestock waste disposal and pit location. The disposal problem is further exacerbated by certain physical land features as many NFRR homes are located on escarpments, as well as other physical features which tend to run diagonally, the latter situation being one that further complicates field manure disposal traffic patterns. Thus, the co-existence issue in dairy farming in much of rural America has an important spatial dimension.
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