A biophysical and socio-economic examination of the use of shelterbelts for swine odor mitigation
The use of shelterbelts (trees and shrubs) arranged in strategic designs near and within swine facilities potentially can play a significant incremental role in bio-physically mitigating odor in a socio-economically responsible way thereby reducing social conflict from odor nuisance. Shelterbelts of modest heights (i.e. 20--30 ft) may be ideal for plume interception, disruption, and dilution. Based on available evidence, there are five primary ways that shelterbelts can mitigate livestock odors: (1) Physical interception and capture of odor laden dust by trees/shrubs; (2) Dilution of gas concentrations of odor into the lower atmosphere; (3) Ground deposition of odor laden dust due to reduced wind speeds; (4) Providing a biological sink for the chemical constituents of odor after interception; and (5) Enhancing the aesthetics of pork production sites and rural landscapes.;Calculated costs for shelterbelt establishment and maintenance over a twenty-year period for four model pork-finishing farms when considering a "seedling price scenario" (0.50 tree/shrub) are below producer willingness to pay (WTP) for odor mitigation detailed by the USDA. Some "high priced scenarios" (≈9.59 tree/shrub) exceeded the WTP for producers of certain sizes. Yet, when cost-share programs (e.g. EQIP and CRP) are factored in, the total amortized costs are lowered below all WTP thresholds. Some of the results show positive cost margins (as much as 0.33--0.59 per pig produced of extra costs to spare) to suggest room for shelterbelts to be part of a "suite of odor management technology".;A series of focus groups examined the notion that environmental quality may be marketed by way of producing and labeling as such, "environmentally friendly" pork. The analysis also examines pork producer and consumer interest in the use of shelterbelts as an environmental quality enhancing technology. Pork producers and consumers alike expressed skepticism about the marketability of "odor reduction", suggesting such attributes may better be bundled with other credence type attributes (i.e. animal welfare, locally grown). If consumer's pay for environmental protection by way of a premium for pork products produced with more pollution control then the "traceability" to the producer must be transparent. Producers must benefit directly from such premiums.