Review of Odor Management Planning Templates and Calculators Across the US

Proceedings Home | W2W Home waste to worth 2017 logo


Odor is a common and prevalent problem for new and existing livestock operations, and odor is often a source of conflict between neighbors. Odor cannot be removed in entirety from livestock production, but it can be managed. A few states have developed odor management plan guidelines or templates that may be mandatory, or voluntarily for the sake of good stewardship. Our long term goal is to construct an odor management plan template for South Dakota and beyond, and improve producer-neighbor relationships. Towards this goal, we present a review of established tools, templates and odor impact calculators that are in use in the United States.

What did we do?

We sent a questionnaire to four odor management plan (OMP) developers in Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska and Pennsylvania. The questionnaire asked questions about the development process, users, marketing, and evaluation of odor management planning guides. We compared and contrasted the responses and identified opportunities to build on these past experiences elsewhere. Similarly, based on existing literature and online tools, four odor impact estimation calculators, or footprint tools were reviewed. These include the South Dakota Odor Footprint Tool, Odor From Feedlots Setback Emissions Tool (Minnesota), Odor Footprint Tool (Nebraska), and Purdue Odor Setback Model (Indiana).

What have we learned?

From the questionnaire it was clear that though an odor management plan is not a mandatory requirement in most of the states surveyed, the developers produced these guides for the betterment of the livestock industry of their state. During development of the OMPs, there was little exchange between producers, neighbors or policy makers collectively. Also, the use, evaluation and impact of the OMP templates was not tracked. There was not extensive marketing for the odor management plan guides aside from extension news updates and some presentations.

The pattern or format of the OMPs from the four different states was similar. Documentation of odor sources and record keeping of odor complaints was encouraged in all with a tabulated form. Michigan’s was the only guide to suggest quantitative estimation of odor impact, even though there are some nice and effective tools available to make these calculations for most states and regions. Odor monitoring was suggested in two states and one state suggested third party monitoring keep the assessment unbiased. Table 1 presents an overall review of questionnaire findings for the four states surveyed.

Table 1. Summary of responses for select questions posed to developers of odor management planning (OMP) templates or guides

All four odor footprint tools were compared based on the odor emission estimates and dispersion model incorporation. Two of the tools considered terrain factors in odor dispersion calculations. Additional comparisons are shown in Table 2.

Table 2. Comparison of odor setback/odor footprint estimation tools

Future Plans

Building off of the feedback from OMP developers in other states, we plan to engage multiple interest groups in identifying the scope, use and dissemination of an OMP developed for South Dakota. There will be an emphasis on conflict resolution in the event of odor complaints so that odor complaints can be resolved locally (between neighbors) as much as possible.

Corresponding author, title, and affiliation

Suraiya Akter, Graduate Research Assistant, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, South Dakota State University

Corresponding author email

Other authors

Erin Cortus, Associate Professor and Environmental Quality Engineer, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, South Dakota State University

Additional information


We would like to thank Dr. Jerry May (MSU), Mr. David Schmidt (UMN), Mr. Karl Dymond (Pennsylvania State), Dr. Richard Koelsh (UNL) for their kind response to the questionnaire.