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The information presented on this page was originally released on March 9, 1998. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Program Designed To Prevent Odor Problems
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Not only do consumers want bacon with their eggs, they want the hog farms raising the bacon to be environmentally good neighbors.
Poorly operated hog farms can raise a stink, but odor can be managed. A voluntary, new program offered by a cooperation of leading pork producers' organizations can help producers serious about having environmentally friendly farms. The On-Farm Odor Assistance Program, sponsored by the National Pork Producers Council in association with the National Pork Board and PORK '98 magazine, will kick-off in March.
Mark Crenshaw, swine specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, hosted a local downlink of the national broadcast that introduced the program in mid-February. About 45 pork producers gathered for the broadcast at MSU.
"There are producers in the state who probably will want to take part in this program," Crenshaw said. "This program offers an in-depth evaluation of odor problems by bringing in a third party to see problem areas a producer may be overlooking."
According to the National Pork Producers Council, the program works with producers to identify and correct on-farm odor problems using appropriate engineering, biological or management solutions. A farm does not have to have a problem to take part.
"In Mississippi, independent producers established in their communities have not had any serious complaints, but it's mostly the new operations that get the complaints," Crenshaw said.
Producers in the odor assistance program first supply information on their operation such as facilities, management, waste disposal and more to a team of experts who will inspect the farm. This gives the team a "snapshot of the operation" before they actually visit the site.
Next, the multi-disciplinary team spends a day at the farm, observing it in action and evaluating all aspects of the operation. This includes the physical site, maintenance, manure handling, ventilation, odor incidents, emergency reaction plan and more. The team meets with the owner and manager to discuss the operation and share preliminary findings at the end of the visit.
Later, the producer receives a written evaluation of their operation and an assessment of what can be done to prevent odor. Following the recommendations is the producer's choice, as the inspection is not conducted by industry regulators.
Currently, the $1,500 to $2,000 cost of each farm evaluation is being funded by the producer check-off with no out-of-pocket expense to producers.
Crenshaw said this new, national program focuses on hog farm odor, but other expertise is already available in the state. The Environmental Assurance Program is a total environmental program focusing on issues such as water quality, odor management and technologies in waste application. The two-year-old program is supported by the National Pork Producers Council, the Extension Service and other agencies.
Anyone seeking more information on either of these hog farm assistance programs should call Mark Crenshaw at (601) 325-8873.