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Hog Confinement Windbreaks Provide Many Benefits

By Jason Johnson, Public Affairs SpecialistIllustration of a windbreak protecting two hog confinement buildings. (Illustration by Logan Phillips)

Financial and technical assistance may be available from USDA to eligible Iowa hog farmers for the installation of natural windbreaks to surround confinement buildings. Windbreaks provide energy savings and other environmental and aesthetic benefits.

Through USDA's Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), eligible Iowa landowners can receive $862 or more per acre to install a windbreak planted around farmsteads and building sites. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers EQIP for USDA.

These types of windbreaks, also called shelterbelts, typically include a minimum of three rows of trees and/or shrubs — an inside row of shrubs for odor control and outside rows of hardwood and conifer trees. "Tree and shrub species selections depend on the soil type and the goal of the landowner," said Becky Hanson, soil conservation technician with NRCS in Northwood.

Besides improving air quality through odor reduction, windbreaks planted around building sites can be designed to:

  • protect against northwest winds in the winter
  • allow southern breeze in the summer
  • provide a noise or visual screen
  • manage snow deposition
  • attract wildlife

For more information about windbreaks, visit your local NRCS office or visit the Iowa NRCS website.