Funds from Smithfield Agreement to help clean up rivers, hog lagoons
Raleigh: Attorney General Roy Cooper announced today that close to $2.5 million in grants will go to improve water quality, protect North Carolina rivers and help farmers clean up hog lagoons. The grants are part of a larger agreement reached in 2000 with Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork producer.
“Cleaner water helps our economy grow and our people thrive,” said Cooper. “These projects will help undo past damage and ensure a healthier future for our state’s waterways.”
Projects were selected to receive grants based on important goals of the Smithfield Agreement, environmental enhancement and providing farmers with better technology to manage hog waste. Cooper’s office sought to award grants to projects that will benefit eastern North Carolina, home to most of the state’s large hog farms.
The Animal and Poultry Waste Management Center at North Carolina State University has been awarded $1,246,629 to improve farmers’ access to cleaner technologies to process and treat hog waste. Funds will help provide additional research related to two technologies that have met the environmental performance standards set under the Smithfield Agreement.
A grant of $500,000 will fund efforts by the N.C. Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation to close inactive hog waste lagoons. Using previous grants, the Foundation has already closed 66 lagoons and implemented waste management and water quality projects.
The N.C. Coastal Federation will receive $310,000 to restore forests, tidal salt marsh, wetlands and streams within the White Oak River Basin. This project will improve water quality and wildlife habitat and help local fishermen by improving shellfish areas. The effort will also engage more than 200 community volunteers.
Ducks Unlimited will receive $400,000 for its Sound CARE Initiative to protect 22,000 acres of wetland habitat in North Carolina. This grant will benefit rivers in eastern North Carolina, including the Tar-Pamlico, Neuse and Cape Fear, and will build on previous conservation along the Roanoke River funded by an earlier grant.
A grant of $33,900 will go to the Eno River Association to protect drinking water and endangered species through land conservation. Funding will go to restore and manage land along the Eno and in Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, which include important headwater streams to the Neuse River.
These grants are the fourth in a series to be awarded to environmental programs under an agreement with Smithfield Foods, Inc. According to the agreement signed on July 25, 2000, Smithfield agreed to provide $50 million over 25 years to improve the environment. Another $15 million was provided to North Carolina State University to fund development of new technologies for processing and treatment of waste.
“Many North Carolinians rely on clean water for their livelihoods, and we all count on having a safe supply of water to drink,” said Cooper. “I’m proud to see so many people in North Carolina working to protect our rivers and keep our water clean.”