Western Region Dairy Odor and Air Quality Education

2009 Annual Report for EW07-009

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

Western Region Dairy Odor and Air Quality Education


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 is 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 will be expected to incorporate these BMPs in their regular outreach activities upon their return to their respective work stations.

Recently, the EPA 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. 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 proposal 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 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 is 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.

Objectives/Performance Targets

The goal of this project is to reduce the environmental impacts of dairy farms in the West. The objective of this proposal is 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 is 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 of the program.

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.


1. Curriculum: The basic curriculum for each workshop has been developed. However, the lessons are revised and modified accordingly to suite specific regional emphasis. The curriculum covers the following topics in addition to other site specific topics:
Lesson 1a – Dairy Air Regulations in California
Lesson 1b – Air Quality Legislation in Oregon & Washington
Lesson 2 – Measuring Livestock Odors
Lesson 3 – Odor Mitigation Strategies (BMPS)
Lesson 4 – Ammonia Measurements Techniques
Lesson 5 – Ammonia Mitigation Strategies (BMPs)
Lesson 6 – VOCs Measurement Techniques
Lesson 7 – VOCs Mitigation Strategies (BMPs)
Lesson 8 – H2S Measurements and BMPs
Lesson 9 – Particulates Measurements Techniques
Lesson 10 – Particulates Mitigation Strategies (BMPs)
Lesson 11 – Dietary Changes for Air Quality
Lesson 12 – Greenhouse Gasses and Carbon Credits

The fully developed lessons are accessible to the general public at the program’s website at the following address: http://www.bsyse.wsu.edu/ndegwa/main/WOAQ/WOAQhome.html

2. Workshops: Four workshops are proposed in each of the following sites to cover all the participating Western US States:

Location Service Area
1. Davis, California Southern and Central CA, NV
2. Western Washington Western WA & OR, Northern CA
3. Boise, Idaho ID, Eastern WA, UT
4. Albuquerque, New Mexico NM, AR, CO, West Texas, Western Kansas

We have held three workshops so far. The first one in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the October 2008; the second one in Twin Falls, Idaho, in May 2009; and the third one in Leavenworth, Washington, in June 2009. A fourth workshop is being planned for California in Spring, 2010.

3. Website Development: A project website has been developed as a resource for project participants and the public (see: http://www.bsyse.wsu.edu/ndegwa/main/WOAQ/WOAQhome.html). The website serves as an archive of workshop presentations, web-cast presentations, video-tours of control practice installations, extension bulletins and fact sheets as well as links to related web resources.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Impact assessment on the effectiveness of the three workshops so far held in New Mexico, Idaho, and Washington has been on the quality of the delivery of the workshop as well as participants reception of the materials presented. Each of the workshops has been conducted by a team of eight air quality specialist who among them present a variation of all 12 lessons/topics. The attendance for all three workshops averaged 20 to 30 people. Table 1 presents the evaluation of knowledge levels of the participants before and after the workshop, while the summary of evaluations of the technical content and the respective delivery (presentations) are presented in Table 2. Evaluations presented in Table 1 indicate a gain of knowledge of from a level of between poor and fair to between good and high on the scale provided on the footnotes of Table 1. The technical contents and the presentations of the workshop contents were both rated at above average to excellent (Table 2). These evaluations also show general improvement in the delivery of the workshop materials indicating response of the presenters to the evaluation comments in earlier workshops. Additional general evaluations are presented in Table 3. These initial assessments from the three workshops indicate that the program’s is successfully equipping the participants with adequate skills to assist livestock operators meet their quality objectives.


Robert Hagevoort

Extension Dairy Specialist
New Mexico State University
NMSU Ag Science Center at Clovis
2346 SR 288
Clovis , NM 88101
Office Phone: 5059852292
Website: http://cahe.nmsu.edu/ces/dairy/dairy-faculty.html
Ronald Sheffield

Extension Waste Management Engineer & Assistant Pr
University of Idaho
University of Idaho Extension
P.O. Box 1827
Twin Falls, Id 8330
Office Phone: 2087363625
Mario E. de Haro Martí

Extension Educator
University of Idaho
Dairy and Livestock Environmental Education
203 Lucy Lane
Gooding, ID 83330
Office Phone: 2089344417
Website: http://extension.ag.uidaho.edu/gooding/
Dr. Joe Harrison

Professor, Nutrient Management Specialist
Washington State Universi
2606 West Pioneer
Puyallup, WA 98371
Office Phone: 2534454638
Website: http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/dairy/nutrient-management/default.asp
Michael Gamroth

Professor, Animal Sciences Extension Dairy Special
Oregon State University
Oregon State University
128 Withycombe Hall
Corvallis , OR 97331-6702
Office Phone: 5417373316
Website: http://ans.oregonstate.edu/personnel/faculty/gamroth.htm
Frank Mitloehner

Associate Cooperative Extension Specialist for Air
University of California
Department of Animal Science
University of California
Davis , CA 95616-8521
Office Phone: 5307523936
Website: http://animalscience.ucdavis.edu/faculty/Mitloehner/