The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it has extended the deadline to sign up for the air emissions consent agreement from July 1 to July 29, 2005.

The purpose is to provide more time for livestock producers to make informed decisions about participation, according to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). The announcement will be published in the Federal Register.

This is the second time that EPA has extended the sign-up deadline. The agency has not changed the agreement since it was originally published in the Federal Register on Jan. 31, 2005.

NPPC is urging pork producers to strongly consider signing up. More details are on the NPPC Web site: www.nppc.org/hot_topics/airemissions.html

The landmark agreement reached between the livestock industry and EPA establishes a nationwide air monitoring study that will define air emission standards for agriculture.

EPA has also posted its response to public comments submitted on the agreement. More than 650 comments were received and have been categorized by a number of common concerns.

Iowa Pork Industry Center (IPIC) Director John Mabry says producers need to learn as much as possible about their obligations and responsibilities should they choose to take part in the agreement.

“We encourage people to read the EPA's public comment response section, and watch the Web cast of the satellite program the IPIC cosponsored with the Iowa Pork Producers Association on this topic in March,” he stresses. The satellite program is at: www.extension.iastate.edu/webcast/archive.htm.