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Air Quality Concerns in Pennsylvania

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps farmers and forest landowners conserve our natural resources including providing clean air and preventing adverse atmospheric change. There are six natural resource concerns and opportunities on farm and forest lands related to air quality: Particulate Matter Emissions (including coarse and fine particles, smoke, dust, and off-site effects from wind erosion) Ozone Precursor Emissions Ammonia Emissions Odors Chemical Drift Greenhouse Gases and Carbon Sequestration

Air Emissions Regulations

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Click here to learn more about Agricultural (Ag) Air Emissions and conservation practices to help reduce them.

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 Hybrid Poplars planted next to a house.


These Hybrid Poplars were planted next to a layer house for particulate matter and visual screening. After 2 growing seasons, most of these hybrid poplars were 12’ – 15’ tall. Additional rows of conifers were planted adjacent to the hybrid poplars.

Useful Tools to Help You Implement Air Quality Practices

         National Air Quality  Site Assessment Tool

Carbon Sequestration Tool

  • COMET-VR Carbon Sequestration Tool- a user-friendly, web-based tool that provides estimates of carbon sequestration and net greenhouse gas emissions from soils and biomass for US farms and ranches. 

Air Quality Worksheets


  • NRCS Air Quality and Atmospheric Change Web Site - Contains the latest information about air quality, global climate change, training, and fact sheets.
  • USDA Agricultural Air Quality Task Force Web Site - This site serves as a repository of information about the task force, and provides public access to Federal Register notices, meeting minutes, reports and documents, and official communiqués from and about the task force.
  • Penn State Extension "Air Quality in Animal Agriculture" Web Site - This site features several articles relating to air quality related to Animal agricultural operations including “Evaluating Air  quality in livestock operations, and various emission studies.     
  • Penn State Extension "Air Quality in Barns" - This site has another section under "Air Quality in Barns" that has additional information on various types of ventilation.
  • Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Odor Management Program - Act 38 of 2005 (also referred to as the Nutrient and Odor Management Act), placed the responsibility on the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission to establish standards for developing and implementing effective odor management plans.  This law requires the implementation of an approved odor management plan for all new Concentrated Animal Operations (CAO) and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) that build new or expand existing structures that house animals or store manure. 

Training and Background Information on NAQSAT

This information was presented at the May 2016 NAQSAT workshop held at Masonic Village in Elizabethtown, PA


For more information on air quality:
Tim Peters
Pennsylvania NRCS Air Quality Contact
(717) 237-2212

Last updated: June 22, 2022