2009-02-05 / Local & State

New Farm Odor Management Regulations To Take Effect February 27

New regulations to manage odors from newly constructed animal barns and certain other agricultural operations will help minimize the potential for conflicts between neighbors, Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff said last week.

"With increasing development and urban sprawl, Pennsylvanians are moving closer and closer to their farming neighbors," said Wolff. "These new regulations are geared to help minimize conflict between those not accustomed to farm odors and the agricultural producers working to meet our increasing world food needs."

As directed by Pennsylvania's Facility Odor Management Regulations in Act 38 of 2005, beginning Feb. 27, any concentrated animal operation or concentrated animal feeding operation - known as CAOs and CAFOs - that builds or expands an animal barn or manure storage facility is required to develop an odor management plan.

CAOs and CAFOs are agricultural facilities that house and feed a large number of animals in a confined area.

The odor management plans must be developed by an odor management specialist certified under the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and approved by the State Conservation Commission.

Each plan should list best odor management practices if the on-site evaluation or the odor site index indicates there is a medium or high potential for affecting the facility's neighbors. The odor site index takes into account issues such as the scope and type of operation, as well as the number and location of farm neighbors. The on-site evaluation is conducted using the odor site assessment tool developed by the State Conservation Commission and Penn State University.

Examples of best management practices may include cleaning and sanitizing buildings, maintaining ventilation system, installing manure aeration systems, composting manure, or controlling moisture levels in the barns.

The regulations do not affect existing animal housing or manure storage facilities, nor are there any requirements relating to land applications of manure. However, any agricultural operation may volunteer to address new or existing facilities in an odor management plan developed under this program.

For more information on the odor management program or the odor management specialist certification program, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us/scc and click on "Odor Management Program," or contact odor management program coordinator Karl Dymond at 570-836- 2181 or kdymond@state.pa.us.

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