Agricultural producers, especially those with Animal Feeding Operations (AFO’s) and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s) need information, training, and assistance in identifying possible pollution sources and implementing practices to protect Utah's Water.
Nearly 40% of the nation's waterways that have been assessed do not meet quality criteria for culinary or recreational use. In response to this, the Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) and The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) completed a National Strategy for animal feeding operations in 1999, which addresses water quality. The EPA included a provision that allows individual states to develop their own plan for implementing the Strategy. The EPA/USDA Utah Strategy helps producers determine their status, and helps potential CAFOs (defined below) develop Nutrient Management Plans (NMP’s) which help implement practices to eliminate polluted runoff. NMPs are required for CAFOs and are recommended for smaller AFOs.
On December 22, 2008, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented a federal rule for Concentrated Animal feeding Operations (CAFOs). This rule outlines how Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs) and CAFOs are regulated by CPA and authorized states across the country.
The new rule requires a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for CAFOs (also called a CAFO permit) that "discharge" or "propose to discharge." AFOs and large CAFOs that do not discharge, or propose to discharge, are not required by law to obtain a permit.
WHAT IS AN AFO?
Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs) are agricultural operations where animals are raised and maintained in confined situations for a total of 45 days or more (does not have to be consecutive days) in any 12-month period (does not have to be a calendar year) AND crops, vegetation, or any post-harvest residues are not sustained in the normal growing season over any portion of the lot or facility. Partial daily confinement counts as a whole day. Also, animals do not have to be the same animals confined for 45 days. For example, some auctions may qualify as AFOs. A Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) is recommended for AFOs.
WHAT IS A CAFO?
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are no longer defined by the "number of animal units" but by the actual number of animals at the operation. In order to be considered a CAFO a facility must first be defined as a AFO. Find out how regulations define small, medium, and large CAFOs. If you have a CAFO you need to develop a Nutrient Management Plan (NMP).
DO I NEED AN AFO OR CAFO PERMIT?
- Your facility does not *discharge water to the State
- Your AFO or CAFO will not discharge (regardless of cause or storm event size)
Although many Medium and Small AFOs may NOT require a CAFO permit, consider Utah's AFO Permit-by-Rule for some enforcement protection
See also: Does My Facility Require an AFO or CAFO permit? (flow chart)
For ways to voluntarily reduce pollution and possibly avoid being designated as a CAFO check out this Checklist of Best Management Practices.
KEY COMPONENTS OF THE 2001 UTAH AFO/CAFO STRATEGY
- Voluntary inventory and self-assessment program - Nutrient Management Planning
Voluntary CNMP development encouraged - no UPDES permit is required if voluntary action is taken
- Technical assistance provided
Comprehensive nutrient management plans are required for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), and are recommended for smaller Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs).