Air and Greenhouse Gases

Indicator Definition

The cumulative emissions of pollutants, including particulate matter, greenhouse gases and other gaseous emissions from a sector for each process

Why is this indicator important to the Feedyard sector?

Air quality and addressing air emissions is a shared responsibility, including for feedyard owners and operators.

Metric

Are strategies in place to manage air and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions?

Why did we choose this metric?

Each feedyard has different conditions to consider, and therefore, it is appropriate for this metric to allow for a strategy to manage all air and GHG emissions based on the specific characteristics of that operation. Feedyards that have strategies in place such as pen management for both wet and dry conditions, and feed processing management, can help mitigate air emissions associated with the outside nature of agricultural production. Feedyards that have strategies in place such as properly formulated rations to optimize animal performance, and feedyards that review use of fossil fuels and/or electricity can help mitigate GHG emissions. A feedyard that has a strategy in place to manage air and GHG emissions would not only reduce emissions but would also have a secondary benefit to the sustainability indicators of land resources, animal health and well-being and efficiency and yield.

Desired Outcomes

Collectively, the practices that are a part of a strategy to manage air and GHG emissions can:

  • Improve performance of the animal
  • Reduce feed required and therefore reduce overall outputs such as GHG and air emissions and waste
  • Reduce excessive air emissions through management decisions that appropriately react to outside conditions

Why do these outcomes matter?

Each feedyard has different conditions to consider, and therefore, it is appropriate for this metric to allow for a strategy to manage all air and greenhouse gas emissions based on the specific characteristics of that operation. Feedyards should be aware of the environmental concerns and management strategies associated with six groupings of air emissions including: ammonia; methane and other greenhouse gases; volatile organic compounds; hydrogen sulfide; dust and other particulates; and odor. Production practices such as feed additives can reduce enteric methane emissions while improving yield and efficiency.

Success Criteria

Increase the adoption of the U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework metric for air and GHG emissions in U.S. feedyards.

How does this metric continuously improve beef sustainability?

Increasing the number of feedyards developing and implementing strategies and management practices to mitigate air emissions will likely lead to positive air quality outcomes.