Summer 2006

Use of the 'Air Management Practices Assessment Tool' for Decision-Making


By Wendy Powers, Department of Animal Science; A. Rieck-Hinz, Department of Agronomy;  K. Stalder and  M. Hogberg, Department of Animal Science, Iowa State University

Figure 1. A view of the Air Management Practices Assessment Tool Web page.Air quality issues continue to receive increasing attention at local, state and national levels. As a result, producers are under increasing pressure to find ways to reduce emissions. Following completion of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Air Consent Agreement we will have a better idea of how much an operation needs to reduce a specific gas, if at all. At that time producers will need to know what options are available and how much of a reduction they can anticipate for the various options. It will be useful to producers as they consider options to have an idea of the relative cost of the various practices. The National Pork Board through the Pork Checkoff, and Iowa State University (ISU) have partnered to develop an electronic decision aid for producers who want more information on management practices that can assist in improving air quality.

The objective of the electronic tool is to help producers make decisions regarding mitigation practices for air quality by providing information on the relative effectiveness and cost of practices and general considerations for implementation. The purpose of the Air Management Practices Assessment Tool is to guide you through a process of determining which mitigation practices are best suited to your operation and your objectives, recognizing that this will be increasingly important to producers over the next few years. The tool is maintained by ISU and can be found at (figure 1). Each mitigation practice has an accompanying conservative estimate of the range in effectiveness and a relative cost (one, two or three dollar signs). This tool will be updated frequently as more information becomes available.

The Web site is organized into four air emissions of interest: dust (particulates), odor, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide. The user selects which gas they are interested in controlling and clicks on the appropriate box. For example, if the user is most interested in controlling ammonia emissions then they would click the ‘Ammonia’ box. This will bring the user to a page that depicts options available for ammonia control.

Within each gas or emittant, sources of emission are categorized by manure consistency, (solid or liquid) then further characterized by site or implementation (housing, manure storage or land application). On each gas-specific page, the user can decide to either view the options from this location or obtain additional information for any particular practice by clicking on that practice. The linked page provides additional information on the practice of choice, including a bulleted lists of pros and cons of implementing the practice and a list of resources for additional information.

This paper is adapted from a presentation given at P.O.R.K. Academy 2006, Marriot Hotel, Des Moines, IA; June 7, 2006.


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