The NC Pork Council's personal University:
The study, conducted by Stephen Harden of the U.S. Geological Survey, found higher levels of ammonia and nitrates in streams near concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs. The study was commissioned by the N.C. Environmental Management Commission in response to a petition filed in 2007 by several environmental groups.
The Pork Council’s consulting firm hired Bill Showers, an N.C. State professor and director of the RiverNet program, which studies nitrogen in the state’s waters. His report, released before the USGS report, is critical of some of Harden’s methods and analysis.
It's not out-of-place for industry and higher education to collaborate; some of the greatest breakthroughs in science have occurred this way. But NC State's relationship with Big Ag in general and the swine industry in particular has evolved into something much less admirable: A loyal source for "opposing opinions" whenever the industry gets in trouble with environmental regulators. And this isn't the first time this year that professor Showers has engaged in public relations for the Pork Council: