You've reached the Virginia Cooperative Extension Newsletter Archive. These files cover more than ten years of newsletters posted on our old website (through April/May 2009), and are provided for historical purposes only. As such, they may contain out-of-date references and broken links.

To see our latest newsletters and current information, visit our website at

Newsletter Archive index:

Virginia Cooperative Extension -
        Knowledge for the CommonWealth

An Environmental Audit or "Self-Test" for Swine Farm Operators

Livestock Update, September 1996

Allen Harper, Tidewater AREC

A swine farm environmental assurance seminar for Virginia producers was held on August 20 in Carson, VA. Over 35 producers representing independent, contract and company swine farms received training and qualified for registration in the National Pork Producer Council's voluntary Environmental Assurance Program (EAP). In addition, there were 11 Virginia producers EAP certified in a pilot program held on April 8 in Lynchburg. More such programs can be held where the need and interest exists.

The assurance program covers all aspects of swine waste management and utilization but it begins with an environmental audit or self evaluation by the participating producers. Actually periodic self evaluation is critical to maintaining and improving all aspects of a commercial swine operation, including the waste handling and environmental aspects of a farm. Listed below are the EAP environmental audit questions that are part of the EAP process. Asking these questions and answering them realistically are the first steps toward identifying weak points and making improvements in environmental protection on hog farms.

How Am I Doing?
A Personal Environmental Audit for Hog Farms

1. I conduct manure nutrient analysis.
Annually Every 5 years Never

2. I know my manure application rate (tons, gallons/acre, or lbs of NPK/A).
Yes No

3. I use soil samples to determine nutrient levels in fields to which manure is going to be applied.
Annually Every 3 years Never

4. I consider runoff potential before manure is applied to frozen or saturated ground.
Always Once in a while Never

5. When applying manure near rivers, streams, or other water bodies, I follow state and/or legal requirements or maintain at least a 50 ft. set back.
Always Sometimes Never

6. I consider wind direction before applying manure near populated areas.
Always Once in a while Never

7. When applicable, I incorporate or inject manure.
Within 0-24 hours Within 24 hours to a week Never

8. My facilities are inspected for possible environmental hazards.
Always Once every couple years Never

9. I consider the distance to a well when I load or apply manure.
Always Sometimes Never

10. I use odor management techniques.
Always Sometimes Never

11. I maintain detailed records on where and when I apply manure.
Always Sometimes Never

12. I know the total amount of nutrients produced on my farm operation.
Always Sometimes Never

13. I change my management practices to reduce potential environmental risk.
Regularly Sometimes Never

14. I have tested my well water for nitrates and bacteria.
Within 1 year Within 5 years Never

15. My manure system is designed for the ____________________of manure that is produced on my farm.
a) treatment b) utilization c) disposal

Visit Virginia Cooperative Extension