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Working together for environmental gains

Working together for environmental gains
The use of the electrostatic fence and the trees and shrubs is expected to reduce odor from the finishing site by more than 50 percent.

Iowa Select Farms and the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF) last week announced a partnership with CSIF’s Green Farmstead Partner (GFP) Program. The partnership was launched at an open house for a hog finisher site near Williams.

Brian Waddingham, executive director of the Coalition, said the partnership shows the commitment of Iowa Select Farms in doing things right. “This shows their dedication to doing things right, which fits right into the Coalition’s wheelhouse,” Waddingham said.

Since the GFP Program  launched in 2009, more than 70,000 trees and shrubs have been planted on Iowa livestock farms. The program links farmers with nursery and landscape professionals to determine trees and shrubs which have a positive impact on a farm.

At the site, which is expected to be stocked in the coming weeks, Frazier Nursery designed the landscaping plan then supplied the 80 trees and 82 shrubs.

When planted in the right location, trees and shrubs add a lot of benefits to a livestock farm like the finishing site in Williams, Waddingham said.

“Trees provide a multitude of benefits,” Waddingham said. “They reduce odor, control snow deposition, as well as save energy and labor from having to move snow from around pit fans, out of feed bunks, driveways and alleyways. Trees have a lot of tangible benefits.”

The rows of arborvitaes and dogwoods is just one component of the odor mitigation strategies in place at the finishing site.

Electrostatic fences

Electrostatic fences serve as the first line in mitigating odor, said John Stinn, environmental projects manager for Iowa Select Farms. “Its whole purpose is to knock down dust particles. If we control dust, we control odor,” Stinn said.

The dust-odor particles leave the barn through the exhaust fan. Then, those particles enter the ionization field, which imparts a negative charge on the dust particles through the two large strands of barbed wire. The wire is charged at 10,000 volts. The air stream then hits a fabric fence-wall which forces the dust particles to settle out or slow down.

“It slows that air stream down, and as that air moves slower, it allows those dust particles to settle out to the ground before they leave our farm, get caught up in the wind and reach our neighbors,” Stinn said.

The electrostatic fence technology has been around for a while, but mostly used in coal power plants. This is the third electrostatic fence system Iowa Select Farms has added to their sites, all of which have been installed this year.

Pairing technologies

 “When you pair the fence with the trees we installed with the Coalition’s help, we are confident that we will reduce the dust and, therefore, reduce odor,” said Noel Williams, chief operating officer for Iowa Select Farms.

The partnership is part of an overall commitment to do things right, Williams said.

“The partnership with the Coalition and the electrostatic fence is a prime example in doing the right thing and doing what we don’t have to do. These things aren’t required by state law, they’re not regulated by the federal government, and, as much as I would like to help the environment in the barns or help pigs grow better, they don’t,” Williams said. “But they do help us be good neighbors, be responsible members of our rural communities.”

 For more information on the Coalition’s GFP Program and to see how your farm could benefit from the addition of trees or shrubs, go to: www.supportfarmers.com or call the Coalition at 1-800-932-2436.



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