The Iowa Environmental Protection Commission has voted to accept new air quality standards for livestock confinement facilities.

The commission voted 5-3 to limit hydrogen sulfide emissions to 30 parts per billion (ppb) based on one-hour averages.

Iowa Pork Producers Association President Sam Carney called that ruling a victory in that an amendment to reduce the duration to 30-minute averages failed. Also, the approved level for hydrogen sulfide of 30 ppb is not as stringent as the 15 ppb level endorsed by “citizen” groups.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will work with farmers to develop Best Management Practices (BMPs) to account for different types of farming operations. “This positive step will continue to encourage and reward non-monitored farms that currently use proactive management techniques,” says Carney.

The department plans to identify BMPs that livestock producers can use to reduce or control hydrogen sulfide, if approved levels are exceeded.

“Many livestock farmers in Iowa are already using windbreaks, shelterbelts, feed additives and management practices to reduce odors,” adds Carney.

The new rules cover all livestock farmers with confined animal feeding operations for hogs, cattle, dairy and poultry.