The National Corn Growers Association says the recent report analyzing odor from animal feeding operations, from an Iowa study, may help the public understand more about livestock operations and dispel myths about odors.

In 2002, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack commissioned the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to study the airborne pollutants -- hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and odor -- from animal feeding operations. From 2003-2005, the Iowa DNR collected 1,708 measurements from all over the state.

Only 118 measurements, or 7 percent, resulted in odor exceedances. Results were taken at the fence lines of animal feeding operations; near the fence lines of manure applications to the land; and near public use areas, educational institutions, religious institutions, residences and commercial enterprises. Iowa state law requires the latter areas to be separated by a certain distance from animal feeding operations or farms that use manure as fertilizer.

"We were asked by the legislature to perform the study to give people an idea of how often they are exposed to odors," said Brian Bunton, environmental specialist with the Iowa DNR Air Quality Bureau. "We will give the report to the Iowa legislature, and it will determine if the study's results warrant an odor standard or not."

NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team Chairman Bill Chase said he believes the study results will be good for livestock producers who face criticism about odor issues. Chase pointed to advances such as injecting manure directly into the ground as a fertilizer and creating deep pits rather than lagoons to store manure.

"It's obvious that what farmers are doing is paying off," said Chase. "We have modernized our abilities to handle manure. As a result, we have fewer problems with odor in recent years."

Chase also noted studies like the Iowa DNR study go a long way in helping science and farmers achieve results that benefit everyone -- farmers, the environment and neighbors.

"With modern manure management practices, producers are working together with science to get a handle on the issue and control the odor," Chase said. "We believe the Iowa DNR study goes a long way in debunking some myths about odors from animal feed operations and manure application practices. We hope states, producers and science continue to work together on this issue to limit the odor and pollutants in the air."

The results of the study are available online. Click on the link, "Results of the Iowa DNR Animal Feeding Operations Odor Study."

SOURCE: NCGA news release.