When producers look to expand their operations or build a new barn, neighbors often have concerns about the odors. Lim says biofiltration is one of the least expensive ways to reduce odors and dust and should be part of farmers' best management practices.
"It also shows they are concerned with taking care of the environment and their neighbors and community as well," he says.
MU Extension structural engineers, air quality engineers, soil scientists and other specialists are working as a team to evaluate farms and offer recommendations on the best ways to mitigate odor and dust.
Lim is also conducting research on anaerobic digesters, which can help with managing waste and controlling odor while also providing a source of energy.
From manure to methane gas
Manure from the facility goes through a 21-day biochemical process that produces methane gas, which can be used to fuel generators and boilers, says Brandon Harvey, a graduate assistant working with Lim.
Harvey says that a hog farm could meet its energy needs with an anaerobic digester and even earn revenue selling excess energy to the grid.
For odor mitigation alone, however, a digester is a much more expensive proposition than biofilters, he said.
"Every farm is different, so we're trying to provide different options, viable options, sustainable options, for people to use," Lim says. "As hog operations expand, it is critical that they be responsible for the environment and be responsible for their community and neighbors. We want to make sure they have best management practices to adopt that improve their operations and minimize conflicts in their community."
Source: University of Missouri Extension