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Pork Checkoff tool helps with air quality decisions
By DOUG SCHMITZ
Iowa Correspondent

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Pork Checkoff and Iowa State University (ISU) last week unveiled a Web-based, decision-making tool specifically designed for U.S. pork and livestock producers interested in learning more about tailoring their air quality practices to their farms.

“The site is a resource for all producers,” said George Pettus, chair of the Pork Checkoff’s environment committee, about the Pork Checkoff/ISU joint effort.” In it, producers can find out which odor mitigation practice or technology is best suited to their type of operation and which one could best address their goals.”

In the fall of 2004, the Pork Checkoff funded the development and delivery of the Air Management Practices Assessment Tool (AMPAT), which was designed in the ISU’s animal science department to assist U.S. producers in identifying animal housing, manure storage or land application practices to address their operation’s air quality concerns.

“The Pork Checkoff’s Environment Committee funded the project after identifying the need for a user-friendly resource to make informed decisions with regard to air quality or emissions,” Pettus said.

The principle investigators involved in the project at ISU were: Dr. Ken Stalder, associate professor of animal science at ISU’s Pork Industry Center; Dr. Maynard Hogberg, chair of ISU’s animal science department; Dr. Wendy Powers, ISU associate professor of animal science; and Dr. Angela Rieck-Hinz, ISU’s Manure Management Action Group (IMMAG) Extension program specialist and coordinator of the IMMAG’s manure applicator certification program.

Tool at World Pork Expo
AMPAT, which debuted at the Pork Checkoff’s Pork Academy a day before the 2006 World Pork Expo, was evaluated by ISU extension personnel and producers with modifications and improvements made as a result of their input.

“The intent from the beginning of the project was to develop and provide pork producers a user-friendly tool to aid them in making the best, most informed decisions on practices and technologies for use on their operations,” said Allan Stokes, director of environmental programs at the National Pork Board in Clive, Iowa.

Stokes said U.S. producers can select the emission they are concerned about and follow a decision tree that would lead them to practices in the areas of animal housing, manure storage or land application through which they can reduce this type of emission.

Each option contains information on the practice, how the practice reduces or controls each emission, and the percent effectiveness of the control and relative cost of the control practice, he added.

Producers can access the tool at www.extension.iastate.edu/airquality/ practices/homepage.html or via the Pork Checkoff website at www.pork.org by clicking on Pork Science/Environment.

ISU staff will maintain and update the website as more resources are identified.

Checkoff marks 20 years
This year’s World Pork Expo, June 8-10 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, was sponsored by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), also in Des Moines.

The Pork Checkoff celebrated its 20th anniversary, highlighting some recent accomplishments in promotion, research and consumer information.

The checkoff touted accomplishments ranging from helping to transform the United States from a net importer to one of the largest exporters of pork to creating new products such as the McRib™ sandwich and providing educational programs such as Pork Quality Assurance.

“In 1998, we shipped 500,000 metric tons of pork, and during this press conference at the 1999 World Pork Expo, we proclaimed to the industry that we would double our exports by the year 2005,” said Danita Rodibaugh, a Rensselaer, Ind. pork producer and president of the National Pork Board (NPB).

Rodibaugh added that U.S. pork exports, which have been supported by the Pork Checkoff, continue to be a huge success story for national pork producers.

“That was six short years ago,” she said. “I am proud to say that last year we shipped over 1 million metric tons.”

For more information about the AMPAT, U.S. producers can contact the Pork Checkoff at 1-800-456-PORK (7675), or visit www.pork.org

This farm news was published in the June 21, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.

6/21/2006