Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Agricultural Economics

Document Type



The Louisiana dairy production region (LDPR) is located in southeast Louisiana and includes five parishes (Tangipahoa, Washington, Livingston, St. Helena, and St. Tammany). It is home to approximately 90% of the state’s dairy industry and is a major contributor to nonpoint source pollution (NPS) in the area’s watershed through nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment effluents. While point source (PS) effluents are easily identified and subject to federal and state regulations, NPS mitigation efforts must address uncertainties such as location of the NPS as well as stochastic parameters such as rainfall and its effect on nutrient and sediment flow. This dissertation presents three strategies to mitigate the effects of the NPS pollution. The first strategy is to identify dairy specific Best Management Practices (BMPs) that best mitigate NPS at the lowest cost. Using geographical information system (GIS) software to simulate nutrient (Nitrogen and Phosphorus) runoff and sediment flow, a suite of seven BMPs are identified that lead to high N reduction with a minimal cost solution. The second strategy uses point source PS/NPS trading to achieve mitigation. A section of the LDPR is identified containing approximately 162 dairy farmers, six point sources, and two weather stations. Using a trading ratio to capture uncertainty inherent with NPS pollution, trading ratios are identified for a range of values for both BMP efficacy and reliability of NPS variance estimates. The less assurance the researcher has in the validity of these parameters, the higher the trading ratio and the more effluent credits the PS will be required to purchase for the NPS in lieu of further PS abatement. The final strategy uses the Hazard model to identify entry and exit BMP adoption characteristics of dairy farmers. The effectiveness of NPS mitigation was found to increase if a BMP is adopted for a longer duration. Research concludes that higher level of education of the farmer and the longer that the dairy farmer has been in operation, the longer the adoption of the BMP.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Krishna P. Paudel