Air Quality Issues at Livestock Facilities


Confinement and concentration of livestock and poultry production decades ago exacerbated nuisance and health effects caused by emissions of odor, particulate matter (dust) and gases from animal manure. Concern about health effects on animals and farm workers are due to potential exposure to high concentrations of various noxious gases and particulate matter. People downwind of production facilities and land application of manure are concerned about both nuisance odor and health effects, resulting in lawsuits, community protests, government regulations, and state and federal consent decrees and agreements. Besides the chronic issue of odor, livestock production’s emissions of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds, greenhouse gases, and bioaerosols have also created potential problems depending on livestock species, site location, and facility design, and management. Major technical air quality issues facing livestock producers are: 1) obtaining suitable sites for new facilities, 2) selecting effective and practical mitigation methods, if necessary, 3) obtaining reliable and economical on-farm measurements of pollutant concentrations and emissions, 4) estimating pollutant emission rates at their farms, and 5) managing manure to minimize impacts of pollutant emissions.


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