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Air Emissions from Animal Feeding Operations: Current Knowledge, Future Needs
review the characteristics of the agricultural animal industries, methods for measuring and estimating air emissions, and potential best management practices for mitigating emissions;
evaluate confined animal feeding production systems in terms of biologic systems; and
identify critical short- and long-term research needs and recommend methodologic and modeling approaches for estimating and measuring air emissions and potential mitigation technologies.
Making scientifically credible estimates of air emissions from AFOs is complicated by various factors that affect the amounts and dispersion of emissions in the atmosphere. Such factors include the kinds and numbers of animals involved, their diets and housing, the management of their manure (feces and urine, which may also include litter or bedding materials), topography, climatic and weather conditions, and actions taken to mitigate the emissions and their effects. Estimates of emissions generated for one set of conditions or for one type of AFO may not translate readily to others.
Accurate estimation of air emissions from AFOs is needed to gauge their possible adverse impacts and the subsequent implementation of control measures. For example, increasing pressure is being placed on EPA to address these emissions through the Clean Air Act and other federal laws and regulations. EPA is under court order to establish new water quality rules for AFOs by December 2002. The need to understand the relationship between actions to mitigate the effects of manure management on water quality and its related effects on air quality prompted EPA to ask for an interim report several months in advance of this final report. The committee’s findings in the interim report (Box ES-1) are encompassed and extended by the findings and recommendations in this report.
The contents, including the findings and recommendations, of this report represent the consensus views of the committee and have been formally reviewed in accordance with National Research Council procedures. In addressing its Statement of Task, the committee has come to consensus on 13 major findings, each accompanied by one or more related recommendations. The basis of these findings is discussed more extensively in the body of the report.
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
EPA defines animal units differently than USDA. An EPA animal unit is equal to 1.0 slaughter and feeder cattle, 0.7 mature dairy cows, 2.5 pigs weighing more than 55 pounds, 10 sheep or lambs, and 0.5 horses. USDA defines animal unit as 454 kg (1000 pounds) of animal live weight regardless of species. A consistent basis for defining animal unit will decrease confusion that may exist be-