Eight hog farms will be among those monitored in the two-year study.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been approved to take the next step to gather air emissions data from agricultural animal feeding operations (AFOs) to ensure environmental compliance.

Nineteen operations that voluntarily agreed to take part in a nationwide air emissions monitoring study have been selected to be tested using new, high-tech equipment that will measure gases, odors and particulate matter. This group includes seven dairies, eight hog farms, three layers and one broiler site, says Al Heber, coordinator of the monitoring project at Purdue University.

The hog sites to be tested include two each in Indiana, Iowa, North Carolina and Oklahoma, and will encompass all phases of pork production. These selections are pending EPA approval.

The $13-14 million project will also track animal activities, feeding, manure removal and barn environments that factor into air emissions, says Heber.

In all, 2,568 farms, including 1,856 hog farms, signed voluntary agreements with the EPA.

EPA will use the farm data to help validate and develop methodologies for predicting air emissions from other farms, says Heber.

“It is going to be the most comprehensive data set ever developed,” Heber says of the two-year EPA project that is slated to launch in January 2007.