On-line tool for assessing air quality

The National Air Quality Site Assessment Tool is designed to provide assistance to livestock and poultry producers and their advisors in assessing a producer’s performance in minimizing air emissions and in determining where there are opportunities to reduce air emissions.

NAQSAT was developed mainly for educational purposes, and using it is completely voluntary, explained Deanne Meyer, Livestock Waste Management Specialist at UC Davis who helped design the tool. Though results may be more valuable when NAQSAT is used in cooperation with Extension educators, agency personnel, trade associations, or private consultants, it is completely Internet-based and can be done privately. It isn’t designed to provide emissions data and/or regulatory direction, but to help producers who are looking for guidance.

Swine, dairy, beef, broiler chicken, laying hen and turkey farmers can use NAQSAT. It addresses eight management categories that relate to air emissions: animals and housing, feed and water, collection and transfer of manure, manure storage, land application, mortalities, on-farm records and public perception.

Users of the tool are asked a series of questions under each category. Only questions that pertain to the operation currently being evaluated will be asked. Pop-up pictures assist the user in determining the relative rating to select when questions require a visual evaluation of the existing practices. NAQSAT allows users to run different scenarios to compare proposed changes in management and/or emission mitigation practices. Different management techniques or new mitigation practices may result in tradeoffs where the new practice reduces the emission of one constituent of concern while at the same time increasing the emission of another. Running multiple scenarios of NAQSAT identifies these tradeoffs before producers invest large sums in control practices that don’t fully meet their needs or goals. "Whether it is a large operation worried about greenhouse gas emissions or a small farm worried about public image and odor, NAQSAT provides valuable insight for farmers," said Paul Martin, WUD director of environmental services, who was part of the development team.

All sessions are strictly confidential, and no farm identification is required to access the tool. Thanks to a partnership with the Livestock and Poultry Environmental (LPE)Learning Center, beef and dairy producers can learn how to use the tool in a webcast found at http://bit.ly/NAQSATBeefDairy

United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) Conservation Innovation Grant program partially funded development of NAQSAT. For more information on the tool, contact Paul Martin or Deanne Meyer.

Go to the NAQSAT tool


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Monica Wadsworth

Monica Wadsworth
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Writer at Milkproduction.com

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