Voluntary Incentive Program to Reduce Livestock Odors

US — A comprehensive plan to reduce livestock odors received unanimous, bi-partisan approval Wednesday from the interim Livestock Odor Study Committee of the Iowa Legislature.
calendar icon 5 December 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

Making these technologies available to just a few scattered facilities around the state is simply not acceptable.

Department of Natural Resources Director Richard Leopold

The proposal calls for a five-year project to provide incentives to producers to utilize technologies available to reduce livestock-related odors. The proposal, which calls for $22.7 million in funding spread out over five years ranging from ($3 million to $5.8 million per year) was jointly presented to the committee by Department of Natural Resources Director Richard Leopold, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and Iowa State University Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Wendy Wintersteen.

“Odors associated with livestock facilities has been a divisive issue for far too long in our state. It is time to re-direct our efforts into finding effective, long-term solutions,” said Leopold.

“The fact that a bi-partisan committee of Legislators can agree that this proposal offers a significant opportunity for progress on this very difficult issue is definitely a giant step in the right direction,” Leopold added.

The interim committee, which commended Iowa State University, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for its work in developing a plan that could lead to odor reduction efforts at hundreds of livestock facilities around the state, has directed staff to begin working on language for a bill. The proposal will later be considered by the full Legislature in the upcoming session.

Under the proposal, applied research cost-share incentives would be offered to producers to adopt technologies designed to reduce odors including methods such as biofiltration, diet manipulation, manure storage covers, vegetative environmental buffers, and siting assistance to producers. A second level of more experimental technologies that would be explored include wet scrubbers, biocurtains, ultraviolet light treatment, topical treatments and digesters.

Iowa State University would be conducting the monitoring and research to measure the effectiveness of different methods on emerging technologies used to reduce odors. Data collected would be aggregated to evaluate variables such as effectiveness, design, costs, and management.

“We believe the research component is key to finding the long-term solutions that will best serve Iowa’s citizens,” said Wintersteen.

Leopold emphasized that the goal of the project is to put odor reducing technologies at hundreds of livestock facilities around the state.

“Making these technologies available to just a few scattered facilities around the state is simply not acceptable. We need to get these technologies in the hands of as many producers and at as many sites as we possibly can,” Leopold said.

Northey said the proposal meets the goals of addressing public concerns regarding livestock odors while still using a voluntary, incentive-based approach.

“We are at a point where there are effective odor reducing practices and technologies that have been developed. It’s time to take that next step that places these practices on-farm as applied research to further document efficacy and implementation costs,” said Northey.

Northey said the project offers a unique opportunity for the livestock industry to directly address odor concerns from the public and to gather credible scientific data on which methods are the most effective and efficient.

“The livestock industry has historically been and will continue to be a vital component to Iowa’s economy. This project would represent a significant investment to ensuring the long-term economic vitality of rural Iowa,” said Northey.

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