New CAFO Rule: What Do Producers Need to Do?
Is your livestock operation a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO)?
Under West Virginia legislation passed in 2010, some livestock operations in West Virginia will now be designated as CAFOs.
Those operators will be required to apply for a permit under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).
Some livestock operations may qualify to be exempt from the permitting process. Will yours?
What do you need to know? What do you need to do differently?
What Changed for Agriculture?
The purpose of the NPDES permit is to protect water quality by providing for the management and control of pollutant discharges.
Originally, NPDES permits have been used for industrial point source discharges, waste water treatment plant discharges, and storm water retention ponds.
Now, agricultural nonpoint pollution—nutrient runoff—falls under the provisions of the law.
Which Operations Need Permits?
- The new requirements affect large- and medium-sized animal feeding operations that have a potential to discharge or propose to discharge wastewater from production areas or manure land-application areas.
- Small-sized animal feeding operations also may be required to have a CAFO permit. But these producers can take three steps to avoid the permitting process.
- Pasture-based operations—predominant in West Virginia—do not fall under these new requirements unless they fail to follow best management practices (BMPs) for protecting the land and surface water.
Want More Details?
For information about creating conservation plans and nutrient management plans, contact your local office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service or West Virginia Conservation Agency.
NOTE: The WVU Extension Service is not a regulatory agency. Extension specialists and agents cannot tell you whether your operation is a CAFO. Official CAFO designations are made by the state Department of Environmental Protection or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
See Related Links
- AFO, CAFO and Other Definitions
- Pasture Management
- Soil testing kits
- CAFO Fact Sheets and other materials developed by eXtension experts
- Animal Manure Management developed by eXtension experts
- W.Va. Department of Agriculture’s CAFO news release
- West Virginia CAFO Law
- West Virginia Chesapeake Bay Program
- Basic Record-keeping Forms for AFOs
- West Virginia Best Management Practices of Conservation Practice Standards
- Small Farm Environmental Issues Articles