Western Region Dairy Odor and Air Quality Education

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2007: $89,236.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Western
State: Washington
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Pius Ndegwa
Washington State University

Annual Reports


  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, housing, animal protection and health, feed additives, feed formulation, manure management, preventive practices
  • Crop Production: windbreaks
  • Education and Training: extension, focus group
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Soil Management: composting
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures


    The goal of this project is to reduce the environmental impacts of dairy farming in the West so as to promote and guarantee sustainability of the milk and cheese industry in the region. The specific objective of this proposal was to train Agricultural Professionals selected across the dairy producing regions in the West on best management practices (BMPs) available to dairy producers for the mitigation of air quality degradation. These professionals are expected to incorporate these BMPs in their regular outreach activities in their respective work stations.

    In 2007, the USEPA initiated a nationwide study to determine what pollutants (ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds, and particulates matter: PM10 and PM2.5) and what sizes of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) may require regulations. These studies were completed in 2009 and USEPA is currently analyzing the data in order develop tools and resources for determining which CAFOs may need to regulated according to existing statues. In the event that the regulations are put into effect, some or all facilities may be required to incorporate or install BMPs to mitigate emissions of these pollutants. In addition, several states in the West such as Idaho, California, and Arizona, have enacted air quality regulations that require dairy and livestock producers to reduce impacts either statewide or within air-sheds that are in noncompliance with the clean air act (CAA). Dairy producers, therefore, need to be aware of the available effective BMPs that they could utilize in order to comply with either the federal or state regulations. This education program is addressing these regulations and introducing BMPs for alleviating odor and gaseous emissions in order to prepare the producers in advance to deal with these issues today and/or when (and if) the regulations come into effect.

    This project is a multi-State, multi-disciplinary Extension Education Project to provide a unified approach to providing this important service to the livestock industry. The proposed project is relying on the air quality research and extension expertise from specialists across the country for a continuous development of air quality education program for agricultural professionals in the West. Four hands-on educational workshops were initially planned to be conducted across the Western region, in this phase of the project, to offer an in-depth introduction to air quality issues, regulations and BMPs. In addition, it was anticipated that workshop participants will subsequently participate in a series of web-cast presentations on specific air quality issues.

    The effectiveness of this educational project will be assessed using tools such as: (1) pre & post quizzes during training, (2) hit counter in the web-site, (3) number of professionals incorporating air quality information from this program into their education or outreach programs, (4) surveys of workshop participant’s intentions of incorporating air quality issues in their programs, (5) request of technical assistance of air quality BMPs by producers, and (6) assessment of reduction of air pollution complaints.

    Project objectives:

    The goal of this program is to reduce the environmental impacts of dairy farms in the West. The objective of this particular project was to train Agricultural Professionals from State Cooperative Extension, NRCS, Soil & Water Conservation Districts, state regulatory agencies, and producer groups in the dairy producing regions in the West on environmentally sound practices that can be used on facilities and to promote and guarantee sustainability of the milk and cheese industry. The educational program has and will continue equipping these agricultural professionals with knowledge and skills they can use to advance best management practices (BMPs) necessary to reduce air pollution from dairies in their outreach activities. As a result of this education initiative, we expect at least 50% of dairy producers to implement recommended practices and/or technologies by the third year after the conclusion of this project.

    In brief, it is projected that the benefits of this educational program will ultimately be reflected in less air pollution from the dairy industry and therefore, less costly nuisance lawsuits that continually threaten the sustainability of this industry. In general, this project is expected to result in: (1) Enhanced environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends, (2) Sustained economic viability of agricultural operations and their communities, and (3) Enhanced quality of life for farmers and ranchers and society as a whole.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.