Online Air Quality Tool Can Help Livestock Producers Lower Emissions



 

AMES, Iowa --Livestock producers now have access to a new tool that can help them lower air emissions and increase their air emissions knowledge. More than 20 university professionals and 15 partner agencies joined forces to create the National Air Quality Site Assessment Tool (NAQSAT), a method for determining where air-quality improvement opportunities exist on farms. 
 
“NAQSAT was developed mainly for educational purposes, and using it is completely voluntary,” said Angela Rieck-Hinz, Iowa State University Extension specialist, who helped design the tool. “Though results may be more valuable when NAQSAT is used in cooperation with Extension educators, agency personnel or private consultants, it is completely Internet-based and can be done privately. It isn’t designed to provide emissions data and/or regulatory direction, but to help producers who are looking for guidance.” 
 
Swine, dairy, beef, broiler chicken, laying hen and turkey farmers can use NAQSAT. It addresses eight management categories that relate to air emissions: animals and housing, feed and water, collection and transfer of manure, manure storage, land application, mortalities, on-farm records and public perception. 
 
Users of the tool are asked a series of questions under each category. Only questions that pertain to the operation currently being evaluated will be asked. Pop-up pictures assist the user in determining the relative rating to select when questions require a visual evaluation of the existing practices. 
 
NAQSAT allows users to run different scenarios to compare proposed changes in management and/or emission mitigation practices. Different management techniques or new mitigation practices may result in trade-offs where the new practice reduces the emission of one constituent of concern while at the same time increasing the emission of another. Running multiple scenarios of NAQSAT identifies these trade-offs before producers invest large sums in control practices that don’t fully meet their needs or goals.
 
NAQSAT is available online at http://naqsat.tamu.edu. All sessions are strictly confidential and no farm identification is required to access the tool.
 
A partnership with the Livestock and Poultry Environmental (LPE) Learning Center is making it possible for beef and dairy producers to learn how to use the tool in a Web cast found at http://bit.ly/NAQSATBeefDairy. Swine and poultry producers may find a similar Web cast at www.extension.org/pages/NAQSAT_for_Swine_and_Poultry.
 
“Whether it is a large operation worried about greenhouse gas emissions or a small farm worried about public image and odor, NAQSAT provides valuable insight for farmers,” Rieck-Hinz said.
 
The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) Conservation Innovation Grant program partially funded development of NAQSAT. In Iowa, funding was also provided by the Iowa Turkey Federation, the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Iowa State University Extension. For more information on the tool, contact Rieck-Hinz at amrieck@iastate.edu or 515-294-9590.
 
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