Pennsylvania targets odors of farming

by Michael Yoder
Intelligencer Journal
Feb 26, 2009

You know you're from Lancaster County if you can tell the difference between the odors of cow, pig and chicken manure — and you have a preference between the three.

Now, new regulations going into effect Friday are intended to lessen the amount of barnyard odors coming from large-scale animal farming operations in Pennsylvania.

Chet Hughes, Penn State's interim director of the Lancaster County Extension, said the new regulation is a "peace-of-mind ruling for residents and for farmers," with the potential to reduce conflicts as populated centers move closer to agriculture.

The regulation requires new and expanding concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, to create an odor-management plan as part of the process of winning approval for construction.

Hughes said there has been more opposition to large-scale farming operations in other parts of the state and points to Lancaster County's agricultural background as generally being more accepting of not-so-pleasant smells.

"People know when they move in here there's going to be smells and there's going to be noise and ramifications from agriculture," Hughes said. "So it seems like people from this area are a little more used to the farming atmosphere."

Each odor-management plan, which is required for all new CAFOs but not existing operations, will list the best odor-management practices if an on-site evaluation or the state's odor site index indicates a medium or high potential for affecting neighbors.

The odor site index looks at the scope and type of operation as well as the number and location of farm neighbors. The odor plans have to be approved before construction begins. The regulation does not have requirements relating to the odor of manure spread in fields.


No comments: