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Research Funding Recommendations

The Secretarys Agricultural Air Quality Task Force recently made their recommendations to the Secretary on research priorities and associated funding. The priorities for agricultural air quality research are related to:

  •         National Ambient Air Quality Standards PM10
  •         National Ambient Air Quality Standards for PM2.5 and Ozone
  •         Animal waste odor

 

These recommendations will result in interdisciplinary programs focusing on improving air quality, decreasing agricultures contribution to ambient PM10, more efficient air pollution abatement systems, more accurate emission factors which will yield more accurate emission inventories based on sound science with consideration for economic feasibility. The ultimate goal will be minimizing the public impact of air pollution attributed to agriculture while maintaining a viable production agriculture.



Priority #1. Research related to air quality regulation and abatement of agricultural particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5)

Development of accurate PM10 and PM2.5 emission factors from agricultural activities.

Improved PM10 and PM2.5 sampling methodology, including statistical procedures, and development of testing and monitoring equipment, to assure accuracy and reliability.

Determine the contribution of agricultural activities (agricultural burning, processing, non-road engine emissions, field activities, wind erosion, and concentrated animal feeding operations) to ambient levels of PM10 and PM2.5.

Current knowledge does not fully describe particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) emissions from agricultural practices. To better understand the particulate matter regulatory issues (particle size distribution, speciation, etc.) emitted by wind blown dust, agricultural burning, field operations, agricultural processing, and non-road engine emissions. Study in this area will also include the role of NH3 (ammonia) in producing PM2.5 emissions.

Determine methodologies to speciate PM10 and PM2.5 (e.g. distinguishing agricultural sources of PM10 and PM2.5 from non-agricultural sources).

Determine the contribution of soil, organic matter, and crop residues (agricultural particulate matter) to PM10 and PM2.5 ambient concentrations.

Improved PM10 and PM2.5 dispersion modeling methodology including deposition and transport.

Determine the technological and economic feasibility of PM10 and PM2.5 air pollution control strategies for compliance with the Clean Air Act and State Air Pollution Regulations.

Implementation Plan (SIP) requirements, National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and regional and local air resource standards.

 


 


Priority #2. Research related to air quality regulation and abatement of ozone attributed to agricultural operations.

Determine/monitor ozone levels in rural areas and determine the contribution of anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic (biogenic) sources of NOx and reactive VOCs{Determine the contribution of ozone precursors (Nox, NH3, and reactive VOCs) from agricultural operations to ambient ozone concentrations. Develop emission factors for reactive VOCs and NOx from agricultural operations.}

Economic assessment of ambient ozone effects on crop production, including costs to agriculture from control measures as well as benefits from reduction of ambient ozone concentrations. {Develop control strategies that will allow for reductions of NOx and reactive VOCs from agricultural operations with consideration for economic impacts.}

Determine the effects of ozone on plant response to disease and pests.

Determine the influence of environmental variables on ozone impacts including factors affecting ozone flux to plants (uptake).

Determine the effects of agricultural activities and rural areas as to their role(s) in sequestering NOx and reactive VOCs.

Develop and validate models to predict ozone effects on crop productivity, including statistical, economic, and plant growth process models. {Develop dispersion modeling procedures that can be used to accurately estimate concentrations of precursors from agricultural fugitive and point sources impacting downwind ambient ozone concentrations.}

 


Priority #3. Research related to air quality regulation and abatement of agricultural odors.

Agricultural odors remain a complex issue with both a measurable component based on the presence of small amounts of specific gas molecules and a more subjective component based on individual sensitivity. Support for expanded research activities is needed to fill gaps between technology development and the needs of agricultural producers and the public. This research will specifically include emissions of H2S and other sulfur compounds, indicator VOCs as they relate to agricultural sources, and NH3 (ammonia),.

Expanded research support is required in the following areas to better identify and measure odors, determine the relationship between odorous compounds and the environment, identify human response to odors, and identify economical control methods and reduction strategies:

  • Determine odor sources from agricultural production and the impact of design and management practices on odor release and transport.
  • Improved dispersion modeling methodology including odor release, transport, and receptors.
  • Standardized measurement methodology, technologies and devices for odor detection including frequency, intensity, duration, and offensiveness.
  • Determine the chemical and physical properties of odor including odor production processes, interaction of environmental variables, odor release pathways, interactions among odorants, and kinetics.
  • Development and implementation of technologically and economically feasible odor control and reduction strategies.

 

 

These recommendations are based on several meetings of the Agricultural Air Quality Task Force, analysis of existing research, and a review of the literature. Appended to this memo is a list of some of the references utilized