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Illinois swine odor study gets boost from grant
Illinois Correspondent

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan traveled to the University of Illinois (UOI) in Urbana on June 15 to announce a $251,000 grant to continue a swine odor research program.

Officials with the Illinois Pork Producers Assoc. (IPPA), which has invested over $80,000 of its own funds in odor research in the last two years, said they’re enthusiastic about continuing the two-year-old research project at the Maschoff family Discovery Farm near McLean, and said this summer’s research will be critical in determining which systems perform the best.

“Finding cost-effective approaches to controlling odors from swine facilities are of major importance to the future prosperity of the industry in Illinois,” said Jim Kaitschuck, IPPA executive director. “Pork producers realize it is in their best interest to minimize odors to continue to be good neighbors. That’s why pork producers are investing their checkoff dollars at the state and national level in odor research.”

Tim Maiers, the IPPA’s director of industry and public relations, told Farm World that July and August will be critical months for the study due to the large amount of air that will be ventilated out of the hog confinement buildings during the heat of summer.

“The goals behind the tests are to evaluate the effectiveness of three current technologies that are on the market and help producers decide if those technologies would be applicable to their farms,” Maiers explained. “With the testing being done on a full-scale working farm, it allows for real-world scenarios and situations that will be similar on other farms and not just in lab conditions. The study is also looking at the cost of implementing and operating the technologies to determine if they are economically viable. I hope that the results show that the technologies can reduce odors and emissions and be cost-effective for producers to implement on their farms.”

In late 2004, IPPA helped establish the Illinois Pork Odor Research Advisory Committee, a committee comprised of pork producers, industry representatives, and academia and government officials.

The committee determined that pork producers needed independently tested and validated information to assist them in making decisions as to what odor reduction technologies work best for their operations. A decision was made to implement testing on a real, working hog farm to evaluate the latest odor reduction technologies.

The IPPA, along with Dr. Michael Ellis and a team from the UOI, established the Discovery Farm at the sprawling Maschoff finishing farm, where three innovative technologies have been studied since November 2005. Those technologies are represented by the Peoria-based ELM Technologies, which uses electric current to kill bacteria, the Good Neighbor System, a three-part program that claims to dramatically reduce gas emissions, and the BEI “Biocurtain.”

“Although there are a relatively large number of products and technologies being promoted for emission reduction, few have been subjected to evaluation in the real world of swine production,” said Ellis, a professor for the UOI’s Dept. of Animal Sciences and leader of the project. “We will create a number of ‘Discovery Farm’ existing enterprises that will not only test these new technologies but demonstrate the best design and management practices to achieve emission reduction.”

Ellis said the issues of dust, odors and gases from hog farms are of critical importance to the state’s swine industry.

“Public complaints and concerns about proposed siting of new facilities and expansion of existing operations are focused largely on the potential impact of emissions. These concerns continue to be the major limitation on long-term public acceptance and the prosperity of the industry,” Ellis said.

According to the IPPA, the pork industry in Illinois contributes $1.9 billion and 18,500 jobs to the state’s economy.

This farm news was published in the June 28, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.