USDA has awarded 11 universities $5.3 million to conduct air quality research that focuses on reducing emissions and odor levels from agricultural operations.

“This research funding will advance air quality related sciences to develop additional tools and practices that will help farmers and ranchers to maintain viable operations, while improving air quality,” says Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns.

The announced funding is part of USDA's overall air quality program and marks the third year of funding, bringing the total research investment in these initiatives to $15.4 million. The awards are administered through USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES), whose air quality program focuses on developing emission data for agricultural production practices.

Funded projects include measuring ammonia emissions from crop canopies by North CarolinaStateUniversity and the University of Illinois, while the University of Iowa and the University of California Davis will research modeling gaseous emissions from animal housing facilities.

The program seeks to increase knowledge about the measurement, control, fate and transport of odor, gases and particulate matter. The research and outreach program aims to help regulatory authorities develop permit options for agriculture producers under the Clean Air Act. Outreach activities include educating producers and the regulatory community about technologies and best practices to lessen the production and transport of air pollutants and greenhouse gases.

Here’s quick rundown of the grant award recipients and amounts:

  • North Carolina StateUniversity, two awards totaling $999,627.
  • Texas A&MUniversity, $499,259.
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, $499,531.
  • West TexasA&MUniversity, $99,320.
  • University of Iowa, $405,753.
  • Washington StateUniversity, $459,714.
  • The University of Chicago, $382,401.
  • University of California-Davis, $498,741.
  • University of Illinois, $499,995.
  • University of Maryland, $465,116.
  • University of Minnesota, $484,284.