Environmental challenges have been top of mind with pork producers over the past few years and that attention has spawned several industry-driven programs. Among those is the On-farm Odor/Environmental Assistance Program. This involves a three-person team of environmental and manure-management experts coming out to assess the status of your farm. The group looks for potential problem areas and provides a written report with solutions and recommendations. A follow-up consultation also is included. You may contact the National Pork Producers Council at (515) 223-2600 or your state pork producer group for more specific information about the program.

Meanwhile, related information is being fed into a computer to analyze and find any common environmental strengths or challenges that the industry is facing. Auditors have found time and again that most on-farm manure management issues are easily and inexpensively corrected.

The top issues that your fellow pork producers are facing in terms of common odor and environmental challenges are as follows:

  • Earthen manure containment systems or lagoons - Keeping them working correctly, specific challenges include proper loading rates and sediment removal. Also proper and regular monitoring to prevent leaking.
  • Inside buildings - Dirty ventilation systems that let odors travel on dust particles. Those of you using pull-plug systems don’t always empty the shallow pit each week. Or if you have multiple buildings, you’re pulling all of the plugs at the same time, which releases a tremendous amount of odor. Staggering that activity can help reduce odors.
  • Outside of the buildings - Standing puddles are an unnecessary odor source, especially if manure gets into these. Another problem is uncontrolled vegetation around the buildings and lagoons.
  • Lack of appropriate manure management plan – especially one in writing – or understanding how to use a plan if one was outlined.