Contrary to the claims of numerous citizen activist groups, Iowa’s livestock doesn’t smell too bad. Environmental specialists finished a three-year study on airborne pollutants from animal-feeding operations, including pork, beef and dairy facilities.

The overall result — odors related to livestock operations topped the odor benchmark in just 7 percent of the 1,708 measurements taken from 2002 through 2005. Only one topped the level that would give state regulators a reason to set odor limits for Iowa’s livestock operations. Specialists detected slightly more odor, 11 percent, near fields where manure was applied.

St. Croix Sensory of Lake Elmo, Minn., screened and certified the environmental specialists that measured odor levels with portable scentometers.

Iowa’s livestock industry representatives say this study shows that the state’s setback distances for livestock facilities is working. However, opponents, particularly the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, claims the study is flawed and is still calling for odor regulations.

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