Chickens in a poultry barn

On December 22, 2008, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented a new 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.  AFOs and large CAFOs that do not discharge are not required by law to obtain a permit. In Utah, two permitting options are available: a CAFO permit or Utah's AFO Permit-by-Rule. Both the CAFO permit and the AFO Permit-by-Rule will provide protection from fines and penalties, if a discharge occurs due to a 25-year, 24-hour storm event.

(For Definitions see Terms and Acronyms)

Facilities that Require a CAFO Permit

  • Large CAFOs that discharge to a water of the State
  • Small and Medium AFOs that require a CAFO permit are:
    • Medium AFOs that discharge through direct animal contact or through a man-made device (pipe, ditch, culvert, etc.) to a water of the State
    • Small AFOs that are designated as a significant polluter based on an on-site inspection and discharges through a man-made devise or direct animal contact

Facilities that Do Not Require a CAFO Permit

  • AFOs and CAFOs that will not discharge, regardless of cause or storm event size, are not required by law to obtain a permit
  • Medium and Small AFOs that do not have discharges as described above are not required to obtain a permit. (Note: Although many Medium and Small AFOs may NOT require a CAFO permit, they may want to consider Utah's AFO Permit-by-Rule for some enforcement protection.)

Facilities that May Get the AFO Permit-By-Rule

  • Facilities that obtain the AFO Permit-by-Rule, and follow its requirements, will have some enforcement protection without going through the CAFO NPDES permitting process

Does my facility require a CAFO or an AFO?

(Download PDF Flow Chart)

  • If your facility does not discharge to water of the state (WOS), then no permit is required.
  • If your facility is not a CAFO or AFO, then no permit is required.
  • Other Facilities, see table below:
Large CAFO* Medium AFO* Small AFO*

1000+ beef, heifers, or calves
700+ cows (milking or dry)
125,000+ layers
55,000+ turkeys
2,500+ swine (>55 pounds) 10,000+ swine (<55 pounds) 10,000+ sheep
500+ horses

300-999 beef, heifers, or calves
200-699 cows (milking or dry)
37,500-124,999 layers
16,500-54,999 turkeys
750-2,499 swine (>55 pounds)
3,000-9,999 swine (<55 pounds)
3,000-9,999 sheep
150-499 horses

1-299 beef, heifers, or calves
1-199 cows (milking or dry)
1-37,499 layers
1-16,499 turkeys
1-749 swine (>55 pounds)
1-2,999 swine (<55 pounds)
1-2,999 sheep
1-149 horses

*Requires CAFO permit if site discharges to Water of the State *Requires CAFO permit if site discharges through a pipe ditch or other man-made device; or through direct animal contact (e.g. animal urinates in canal ditch) *Requires CAFO permit if site discharges and deemed as a significant polluter through an on-site inspection