global scales should be conducted on ammonia, N2O, and methane (also see Finding 2).
Long-term research priorities should improve understanding of animal production systems and lead to development of new control technologies.
These findings and recommendations, taken together, point to two major changes in direction for improving the basic information needed for dealing with the adverse effects of air emissions from AFOs. One is to replace the current emission factor approach for estimating and tracking the rates and fates of air emissions using a process-based modeling approach with mass balance constraints. The second is to initiate a substantial long-term research program on the overall system of producing food from animal feeding operations with the goal of eliminating the release of undesirable air and other emissions into the environment.
Facing the need for defensible information on air emissions from AFOs, in a timely manner, is a major challenge for EPA and USDA. Neither has yet addressed the need for this information in defining high-priority research programs. Each has pursued its regulatory and farm management programs under the assumption that the best currently available information can be used to implement its program goals.
The scope and complexity of the information needed by these agencies, as well as the potential environmental impacts of air emissions from AFOs, require a concentrated, focused, and well-funded research effort. Such an effort is described in this report.