Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Melissa Merz
877-844-5461 (TTY)
June 15, 2006



Urbana ─ Joined by faculty and staff of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and producers, Attorney General Lisa Madigan today awarded a $251,000 grant to the U of I that will help fund a unique livestock odor control project.

At a morning news conference, Dr. Robert Easter, Dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and Dr. Michael Ellis, professor of swine management, accepted the grant that will be used for the college’s Discovery Farms research project. Ellis heads a team of U of I researchers who are working on a new paradigm to deal with the social, economic and sometimes contentious aspects of controlling odors that can emanate from large livestock operations.

“As consumer demand for pork products increases, Dean Easter, Dr. Ellis and their associates certainly have challenges before them in finding ways to help producers meet this demand in a way that protects the environment and the quality of life for those who live near production facilities,” Madigan said.

“Livestock production is a key part of a diversified agricultural economy and is a means of creating employment and business opportunities by adding value to Illinois corn and soybeans,” Dean Easter said. “Dr. Ellis and his colleagues have developed a number of strategies that should significantly reduce the odor emissions from swine farms and the funds provided by Attorney General Madigan will allow on-farm tests of these concepts.”

In the Discovery Farms grant proposal, Ellis explained that the issue of dust emissions, odors and gases from swine facilities is of critical importance to the Illinois agricultural industry and are major reasons why the public is hesitant to embrace such facilities near their communities.

“Most research in this area has involved small-scale studies in the laboratory or on research farms” Ellis said. “The funding from Attorney General Madigan will allow us to test the most promising technologies for emission reduction from swine facilities under full-scale commercial conditions as well as a comprehensive understanding of practical issues and costs associated with their application. This information will be critical to allow producers to make objective decisions on the most appropriate, cost-effective emission reduction technologies to use.”

Ellis said his team envisions the project will feature three phases:

  • Identify Discovery Farm sites through consultation with Madigan’s office, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and the Illinois Pork Producers Association;
  • Install equipment at each site that will provide rapid and continuous measurement of emissions and monitoring conditions; and
  • Test various emission reduction technologies.

Madigan said a unique aspect of the Discovery Farms project is that it will build on knowledge already gained during the Henco Farm Research Project, an earlier project in Henderson County that was awarded a grant by the Attorney General’s office.

“With one of the nation’s premier research universities behind the effort, I look forward to the results of Dr. Ellis’ study and believe that it will help a vital segment of Illinois’ economy move ahead in an environmentally friendly fashion,” Madigan said.

Madigan said the funding for the Discovery Farms project comes from proceeds of a 2001 antitrust settlement reached by the Attorney General’s Office with seven major vitamin manufacturers charged with fixing the prices for vitamins used many products, including agricultural products such as animal feed.


Return to June 2006 Press Releases