Environmental Regulatory Issues Facing Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)
When is a Pond Not a Pond
On Tuesday morning March 13 2012 I had the opportunity to learn a few things from one of the brightest consultants serving the livestock industry–Becky Sexton of Twin Lakes Environmental Services Becky and Kent Mowrer of the Coalition to Support Iowa Farmers provided an excellent overview of the environmental regulatory issues faced by Iowa beef producers. The primary focus was related to EPA law. Becky and Kent sited several of the more important aspects of the regulations as they relate to the siting of feedlots and enclosed livestock facilities. One of the most interesting examples discussed included the setback requirements for livestock confinement facilities (like beef barns) from water sources such as streams and ponds.
Did you know that sometimes a pond is really not a pond? It’s sad but true. If your pond has an outlet it may not really be a pond in the eyes of the EPA/DNR. On the other hand you better make sure before you build an concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) nearby. Another extremely important topic that Becky discussed was about manure management plans. While soil sampling requirements and protocols may not be the most exciting thing to learn about believe me things can get pretty exciting on the farm if the EPA finds your manure management plan is out of compliance! Fines can be in excess of $30000 / day . . . worse when the EPA feels that producer negligence is an issue.
I’m encouraging many of my customers to take a little time this summer to re-connect with their Consultant or Certified TSP (Technical Service Provider) to ensure the plans they have are correct and compliant. To locate a certified TSP visit the USDA site for TSP registration: http://techreg.usda.gov/.
By the way Becky has prepared a paper that is available on this website. Just request it. She also gave us a handout on soil sampling. If you want a copy it is also available on the Free Info page of this website.
Ed Leman Beef Specialist