AMARILLO — Dr. Brent Auvermann is an agricultural engineering specialist for Texas AgriLife Extension Service with joint appointments in Texas AgriLife Research and Texas A&M University’s biological and agricultural engineering department.
His expertise disseminated while wearing these many hats has earned Auvermann a 2011 Superior Service Award in the specialist category. The award was announced recently and will be presented to Auvermann in May.
“Dr. Auvermann is a recognized leader specializing in environmental air quality for livestock systems,” said Dr. Saqib Mukhtar, AgriLife Extension engineer and associate department head of the department of biological and agricultural engineering at Texas A&M.
Auvermann has devoted more than 16 years to quality and effective AgriLife Extension and outreach programs, improving lives and livelihood of citizens, according to Mukhtar, who made the nomination. His work includes improving feedyard air quality, developing new technologies and promoting research-based management practices to reduce environmental impacts of confined and concentrated beef and dairy operations while maintaining economic viability.
Mukhtar said cattle feeders in Texas and in surrounding states benefit from Auvermann’s applied research in manure management and air quality because “he effectively translates complex environmental systems information into relatively simple but comprehensive educational products for clients.”
Auvermann has published and developed hundreds of educational materials, including refereed journal papers, publications and presentations for clients who range from producers, consulting engineers, technical service providers, scientists, researchers and policy makers to students.
From 2006 to 2011, Auvermann led the Extension component of a Texas-Kansas partnership that brought more than $4 million to Texas A&M AgriLife to support livestock air quality programs. His efforts included planning and delivery of a capstone workshop series in 2010 in both states that reached cattle feeders representing nearly 4.4 million head marketed per year.
He served on a national Extension team from 2008-2011 that developed and deployed a web-based tool funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service called National Air Quality Site Assessment Tool for beef, dairy, swine and poultry operations.
In addition, Auvermann devised engineering-based procedures for site-specific scoring across all species and provided detailed technical guidance to the beef team in the design and implementation of the feedyard site assessment tool. This tool is increasingly sought by producers and educators to understand how location, manure management and environmental conditions of a confined animal operation impact air quality, Mukhtar said.
Most recently, Auvermann was invited by the prestigious Council for Agricultural Science and Technology to co-author a report on air quality issues associated with animal agriculture in North America.
As a result of his science-based knowledge and engineering expertise in mitigation techniques for controlling dust from cattle feed yard surfaces, he was the “go-to person” and the primary technical advisor to Texas USDA-NRCS engineers during the design and early implementation of the Atmospheric Resource Quality Management initiative for cattle feedyardsunder the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Mukhtar said.
This program was the first of its kind nationwide, providing cost-share and incentive payments to eligible feed yards with serious dust challenges, he said. The cost-sharing and incentive payments stimulated adoption of aggressive manure-harvesting practices and installation of solid-set sprinkler systems.
Auvermann also led the Extension and research team of engineers and scientists that provided detailed technical review of dairy environmental regulations proposed to the New Mexico Water Quality Conservation Commission by the New Mexico Environment Department. He also served as the primary technical advisor to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the Pinal County Air Quality Control District during the design of a beneficial management practices standard for open-lot cattle feedyards and dairies.
At the national level, Auvermann is an expert in measuring, monitoring and disseminating information on air pollutant emissions from animal feeding operations. Currently, he is serving on the USDA National Working Group on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Livestock and Poultry.
In 2010, he co-moderated a national workshop for standardized reporting of air emissions from livestock and poultry operations, jointly sponsored by the EPA and the USDA Task Force on Agricultural Air Quality.
Auvermann has been acknowledged with several awards and accolades, including the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Nolan Mitchell Young Extension Worker award in 2004. Also, he served on teams that won the 2009 Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence for Research, the 2010 Governor’s Texas Environmental Excellence Award-Agriculture from Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the 2011 National Excellence in Multistate Research from the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy.