Farm life is often associated with rural landscapes abundant with fresh air and clean water. In truth, agricultural emissions, which include odors, chemical discharges, particulates, and greenhouses gases — such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide — can pose a serious threat to air quality.
Importance of Air Quality
While air pollution from agriculture includes emissions from tractors and farm vehicles, the greatest agricultural contributors to air pollution stem from animal-raising operations. Cattle, pig, and chicken operations release methane, nitrous oxide, and ammonia into the air. These gases can accelerate climate change and pose danger to human health.
Knowing the type and quantity of contaminants that agricultural animal operations release into the air is necessary to ensure:
- Community health and satisfaction
- Safety for workers on animal farms
- Accurate climate change predictions
In addition, this information is important to ensuring maximum plant growth because poor air quality, such as high amounts of ozone in the atmosphere, can inhibit growth.
Our outreach activities ensure that farmers and regulators have access to the technologies, tools, and strategies to reduce pollutants and greenhouse gases while maintaining productivity.
NIFA projects address air quality issues by:
- Cultivating sustainable practices that protect the environment while fostering farm productivity
- Developing emission data and improving measurement, control, and transport of odor, gases, and particulate matter
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing carbon sequestration in agricultural production systems
- Preparing the nation's farms to adapt to a changing climate