FFAR & NPB Focus on Continuous Air Quality Improvement Efforts



  • Health-Agriculture Nexus

WASHINGTON (April 20, 2022) — Farmers have always been committed to protecting natural resources, including water, soil and air for the present and future generations. In an effort to measure and continuously improve air quality in and surrounding swine production facilities, the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR), in partnership with the National Pork Board (NPB), is launching the Improving Swine Production Air Quality Program. This program dedicates $1 million in grant funding to develop objective measures for key air quality components and concentrations in and within 500 meters of swine production facilities.

Using objective methods and metrics assessing air quality is critical for understanding the source of swine production particulates and developing continuous improvement efforts. However, existing air quality measurements are subject to bias, preventing the development of effective strategies to improve air quality.

We want to better understand particulates and air quality. We first must accurately and objectively understand the levels of exposure to these particulates by workers and surrounding communities. Only after we have this information, can we begin developing effective interventions. Lucyna Kurtyka, M.S.
Senior Scientific Program Director Health-Agriculture Nexus

Swine production air quality studies reveal that researchers unintentionally introduce bias in a variety of ways, clouding efforts to understand the challenges and opportunities. This research program aims to develop a scientifically valid assessment of particulate levels inside and immediately outside of swine facilities. The first phase of this potentially multi-phase program focuses on developing accurate and objective measurements. Eligible projects must include collecting new data for risk assessments; FFAR will not consider projects based upon existing data due to potential bias in the studies.

“Pig farmers have always been committed to doing what’s right for people, pigs and the planet,” said Dr. Heather Fowler, Director, Producer and Public Health, National Pork Board. “Recently, we released the U.S. Pork Industry Sustainability Report to document pork’s ongoing continuous improvement efforts. Projects such as this will allow us to continue to measure where we are today and look for areas of continuous improvement in the future.”

Pig farmers have always been committed to doing what’s right for people, pigs and the planet. ... Projects such as this will allow us to continue to measure where we are today and look for areas of continuous improvement in the future. Dr. Heather Fowler
Director, Producer and Public Health, National Pork Board

With an accurate and objective air quality measurement in hand, and contingent on available funding, future phases of this program may assess particulate exposure among swine production facility workers and those living nearby to understand impacts to workers, animals, and local communities.

The deadline to submit letters of intent is May 18, 2022. Invitations to submit full applications will be sent in June 2022. Applicants must submit a letter of intent to be eligible to submit a full application. As NPB is providing matching funds, applicants are not required to secure additional funds. To view the full application criteria and submit a letter of intent, please visit FFAR’s Improving Swine Production Air Quality Program webpage.

Image courtesy of the National Pork Board, Des Moines, Iowa.

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Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research

The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement USDA’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.

Connect: @FoundationFAR

The National Pork Board

The National Pork Board has responsibility for Pork Checkoff-funded research, promotion, and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in consumer education and marketing, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, science and technology, swine health, pork safety, and environmental management and sustainability. For the past half century, the U.S. pork industry has delivered on its commitment to sustainable production and has made significant strides in reducing the environmental impact of pig farming. For information on Checkoff-funded programs visit porkcheckoff.org.

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