Odor-smellers say livestock isn't so stinky

IOWA - Maybe Iowa's hogs and cattle don't stink as much as people think.

A cadre of specially trained state odor-smellers — armed with "scentometers" — finished a three-year study with this finding: Odors related to livestock operations topped the odor benchmark in just 7 percent of the 1,708 measurements from 2002 through 2005.

Just one reading hit a level that would prompt regulators to consider setting the state's first odor limits for livestock operations, said Sean Fitzsimmons of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources' air-quality staff.

Consequently, such odor limits are unlikely, and will happen only if Iowans persuade state lawmakers to set them, Fitzsimmons said.

Wayne Gieselman, the state's environmental protection chief, said legislators "cut the funding for the testing, so we won't be monitoring anymore."

Iowa is the nation's top producer of hogs, and the swine industry claims to account for 63,000 jobs.

Farmers call the odors "the smell of money," but many Iowans have complained of asthma problems, headaches, nausea and other problems related to manure gases. Many just complain of the stink.

Farmers collect manure from hogs in large pits that are emptied once or twice a year by crews that spread it on fields as fertilizer.

State lawmakers asked for the three-year study of odor after scientists at two state universities recommended scientific limits on the smells. The purpose of the study was to help decide if regulations are warranted.

Source: Des Moines Register
calendar icon 9 March 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
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