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On-Farm Assessment and Environmental Review: The On-Farm Poultry Project

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Environmental management at livestock production operations has drawn increased attention in recent years for a variety of reasons to include increased public concern about the environment in general, a new interest in food purity and production techniques, a growing animal rights movement, and the increasing volume of state, federal, and local environmental regulations impacting these activities. Environmental management for livestock production operations has generally focused on the prevention of contamination of surface or ground water and the reduction of odor impacts.

Some of the ways that these basic issues have been addressed include an expansion of research into the science of animal operations, an improvement in education of farmers and integrator groups about their operations, and initiatives to “get the word out” on ways to protect water quality and reduce odors while maintaining or improving production efficiency. America's Clean Water Foundation (ACWF) has been involved in reaching out to growers and producers and has received three years of direct appropriation from Congress to implement a program to improve environmental stewardship of animal operations and protect surface and ground water quality.

ACWF’s On-Farm Assessment and Environmental Review (OFAER) project for poultry has been designed to:

Identify and eliminate environmental risks through on-farm audits of concentrated animal operations relative to building/site management, odor control, litter management, and nutrients management

Gather/develop objective, credible, quality assured data and modeling methods to predict the aggregate water quality impacts of poultry operations

Provide education in on-farm assessment techniques to state agency and other personnel

Develop educational materials for the public at large based on the aggregate data and findings resulting from this project.

The on-farm assessment techniques of OFAER have been developed and improved by ACWF in consultation with livestock and poultry producers, producer organizations, staff from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Extension Specialists and private agricultural consultants. These techniques have been proven in over 1,400 assessments conducted in 39 states, and include a wide variety of production facilities – from small to large operations and open lot to total confinement facilities. Assessments are available to broiler, egg laying, beef cattle, and dairy operations nationwide. Poultry growers in the 13 southeastern states are excellent candidates for OFAER participation. The evaluations resulting from OFAER participation can represent an important tool for growers in these states in responding to environmental issues.

The OFAER Project is providing producers with a comprehensive, objective assessment of water quality and odor risk factors at their operations. These assessments are conducted by a team of technicians trained, tested, and certified to identify water quality and odor risks through use of an established and proven assessment protocol. Participation in the project is voluntary and at no charge to the producer. The producer is provided a written assessment report following completion of an assessment. Each assessment provides recommendations to reduce an operation's actual or potential impact on surface or ground water quality, and ways to minimize odor or nuisance conditions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-01-01

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