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Faculty Mentor

Richard Nicolai

Abstract

Dust and particle emissions (PM) from cattle feedlots is a concern for producers in order to maintain good relations with neighbors and also to comply with the EPA proposed PM2.5 particulate emission rules. Dust at 2.5 microns, which cannot be seen by the naked eye, is a potential health hazard since it can be ingested into the lungs of humans. One of the proposed regulations of the Federal Clean Air Act is to apply the PM2.5 standard to the agricultural sector. This research project examines the particulate matter dust emissions of various sizes in microns including 2.5, 10, and total particulate matter emitted from a typical cattle feedlot in eastern South Dakota. The particulate matter from ambient air on the feedlot was monitored for a period of four weeks in August 2005 to obtain a large sample and accurate results. The data was then analyzed and interpreted into micrograms per cubic meter for comparison with various EPA standards and tests. The results from the feedlot show that during optimum dust production conditions (high temperatures, low humidity, calm winds, and low precipitation) feedlots can produce significant levels of particulate matter at the 2.5 and 10 micron sizes. These levels are similar in significance to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The findings from the research may assist County Zoning Boards and Commissioners with information to assess dust and particulate matter potential from livestock operations. This data found may also help lawmakers effectively make decisions on the regulation of feedlot operations rather than blindly inhibiting their operation.

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