Still more news of interest in Arkansas from USA Today:

Living near a hog farm or a field fertilized with pig manure significantly increases the risk of being infected with a dangerous superbug, new research finds.

Two new studies published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine focus on a bacteria called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus , or MRSA, which caused more than 80,000 invasive infections in the USA in 2011.

…In 2011, for the first time since officials began tracking invasive MRSA infections, more Americans were infected with MRSA in the community than in the hospital, one of the studies shows.

In the second study, researchers found that exposure to hog manure is related to 11% of MRSA infections, even among people who don’t work on farms.

Hog farming has been in the news in Arkansas because of C and H Farm, the mass feeder pig operation industry giant Cargill is backing in Newton County along a major tributary to the Buffalo National River. Legal fights are underway over the inadequate environmental impact work done before permits were approved for the operation. The Arkansas Farm Bureau has been a leading advocate for the hog farm.

David Ramsey wrote on manure handling at C and H:

The controversy centers on the inevitable byproduct of the farm: pig crap. Based on C&H’s nutrient management plan (NMP), the facility will generate more than 2 million gallons of manure and wastewater per year. The waste is first collected in 2-foot-deep concrete pits below the animals. Once the shallow pits, diluted with water, are filled, the waste drains into two large man-made storage ponds. Eventually, as the ponds fill, C&H will remove liquid waste and, in an agreement with local landowners, apply it as fertilizer on more than 600 acres of surrounding fields.