Use of the Air Management Practices Assessment Tool for Decision-Making

Updated: 03/2023


Air quality issues continue to receive increasing attention at local, state and national levels. As a result, producers are under increasing pressure to find ways to reduce air emissions. Following completion of the EPA Air Consent Agreement we will have a better idea of how much an animal feeding operation (AFO) needs to reduce the emissions of a specific gas, if at all. At that time producers will need to know what options are available and how much of a reduction in emissions they can anticipate for the various options. It will be useful to producers as they consider options to have an idea of the relative cost of the various emission mitigation practices. An electronic decision aid for producers who want more information on management practices can assist in improving air quality from AFO has been developed*.


  • The objective of the electronic tool is to help producers make decisions regarding mitigation practices for air quality by providing information on the relative effectiveness and cost of practices and general considerations for implementation.

Air Management Practices Assessment Tool

An electronic decision aid for producers who want more information on management practices can assist in improving air quality on an AFO. The purpose of the Air Management Practices Assessment Tool is to guide you through a process of determining which mitigation practices are best suited to your operation and your objectives, recognizing that this will be increasingly important to producers over the next few years. The tool is maintained by Iowa State University and can be found at http://www.extension.iastate. edu/airquality/practices/homepage.html (Figure 1). Each mitigation practice has an accompanying conservative estimate of the range in effectiveness and a relative cost (one, two, or three dollar signs). This tool will be updated frequently as more information becomes available.

Figure 1. Home page for the air management practices assessment tool.

The website is organized into four air emissions of interest: dust (particulates), odor, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide. The user selects which gas they are interested in controlling and clicks on the appropriate box. For example, if the user is most interested in controlling ammonia emissions then they would click the ‘Ammonia’ box (http://www.extension.iastate.edu/airquality/practices/ammonia.html; Figure 2). This will bring the user to a page that depicts options available for ammonia control.

Figure 2. Example of comparison of alternatives for control of ammonia emissions in liquid and dry manure systems.

Within each gas or emittant, sources of emission are categorized by manure consistency (solid or liquid) then further characterized by site or implementation (housing, manure storage, or land application). On each gas-specific page, the user can decide to either view the options from this location or obtain additional information for any particular practice by clicking on that practice. Figure 3 depicts the information currently available if the user selects permeable covers as a liquid manure storage practice for management of ammonia emissions (http://www.extension.iastate.edu/airquality/practices/ammstoragepc.html).

Figure 3. Example text information on permeable barriers for ammonia emission control for liquid manure storage practices.

*Electronic decision tool was developed through support of the National Pork Board and Iowa State University. The linked page provides more information on permeable covers, including general features of the practice, bulleted pros and cons of implementing the practice, and a list of resources for additional information.


An electronic decision aid for producers who want more information on management practices that can assist in improving air quality has been developed. The tool provides practices for controlling odor, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and dust/particulates. Control practices are categorized based on site of application; in the housing area, at the manure storage, or as a land application practice. For each practice listed, a range in control that has been documented is provided. A relative cost for implementation is also provided ($, $$, or $$$). The intent of the site is not to provide actual costs but to give producers a sense of how relative cost compared with documented effectiveness for each practice. The tool, itself, will be updated frequently as information becomes available and can be found at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/airquality/practices/homepage.html.

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