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Helping livestock farmers reduce barn odor

October 28, 2019

Erin Cortus uses science to help producers and communities

Portrait of Erin Cortus

Erin Cortus is working with livestock farmers to sweeten things up on the farm. In her AGREETT-funded Extension position in the University of Minnesota’s bioproducts and biosystems engineering department, she builds an understanding of the environmental footprint of operations and develops tools to help producers and communities make decisions.

Cortus’s work involves the gas, odor, heat and moisture animals produce, and the impact on animals, farm workers and nearby residents. She helps farmers gather data and conducts the research needed for good decisions regarding changing, new and expanding facilities.

Jay Moore, director of environmental services at New Fashion Pork in Jackson, Minn., says,“Erin’s work is important to us to confirm that we are doing the right thing. We don’t want to interfere with our neighbors’ enjoyment of life.”

“Good communication with livestock producers is a key to my work,” says Cortus. “At the end of the day, I’m seeking science-based insights into livestock systems to help producers and communities.”

In 2015, Minnesota lawmakers approved legislation that created the Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Tech Transfer program (AGREETT). Today, 23 AGREETT faculty and Extension educators at the University of Minnesota focus on topics such as clean water, crop and livestock productivity, microbial science, soil fertility, agricultural technology, pest resistance, climate change, and commercial horticulture.

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