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Fed-beef producers in the United States face substantial investments and increased operating costs in complying with effluent limitations guidelines established by the Environmental Protection Agency. This study was designed to provide indications of the extent of fed-beef operation runoff problems and capital investments and annual costs to producers attributable to compliance. It was initiated prior to the passage of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, which established the guidelines. Findings indicate that total capital investment for facilities and equipment needed to control runoff problems in the 18 leading fed-beef producing States would range from $132 to $136 million. Annual added production costs would total $20 million. About half of the marketings in these 18 States came from operations with less than 1,000 head capacity in 1972. Costs would fall heaviest on these small operators. In the Eastern States, the average investment per head of capacity for runoff control would average $21 for 100-199 head capacity feedlots and $3 for lots with capacities of 1,000 head or more. In the Western States, investment would average $22 for operations of less than 1,000 head capacity. For larger operations it would average from $1 to $4 per head. Costs per head drop sharply for larger operations in both the Eastern and Western States. Some small-capacity operations in the East may not be able to continue production if they are required to comply with EPA guidelines.


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