INSTITUTE INDEX: A looming legal battle over hog farm pollution in North Carolina

Pollution from industrial hog farms has sparked legal action in North Carolina, the nation's second-biggest hog producer. (U.S. Geological Survey photo)

Number of Eastern North Carolina residents who this month notified Virginia-based pork giant Smithfield Foods that they plan to sue over the company's hog farm pollution, which they say has deprived them of the use and enjoyment of their property: 588

Year in which the N.C. Department of Justice negotiated a landmark settlement with the state's major pork producers, who agreed to address their environmental impacts: 2000

Amount the settlement provided for research into new ways of treating hog waste: $17.1 million

Percent of North Carolina hog farms that are still using the same old disposal method, which involves flushing hog waste from barns into open-air pits and then spraying it on nearby fields: almost 100

Number of times more concentrated disease-causing pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli are in animal waste than in human waste: 10 to 100

Percent of antibiotics used in the U.S. that go into animal feed, resulting in some of the pathogens in hog waste becoming antibiotic-resistant: 80

Minimum number of people who've died as a result of exposure to toxic hydrogen sulfide emissions from animal waste pits: 19

Number of hog farms in North Carolina that are still using waste pits: more than 2,400

Number of times more common hog operations are in North Carolina communities with the highest poverty rates as compared to those with the least poverty, after adjusting for population density: 7.2

Number of times more common hog operations are in North Carolina communities where the nonwhite population is the highest as compared to those where it's the lowest: about 5

Rank of North Carolina among the biggest hog-producing states, with Iowa in first place: 2

Date on which the N.C. House passed a bill resembling model legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that connects state lawmakers and business interests, changing the way such farm nuisance complaints are handled by requiring complainants who lose in court to pay a farmer's legal defense costs: 5/15/2013

Date on which the N.C. Senate passed a similar measure, which is now in conference committee: 6/17/2013

Smithfield Foods' net income in 2012: $29.7 million

(Click on figure to go to source.)