Know Rule for Medium and Large Livestock Operations

The new concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) permitting process will affect only a few medium and large animal operations in the state.

(See “Steps for Small-sized AFOs” and “You're Not a CAFO? Don't Become One”)

Medium and large CAFOs must apply for permit coverage under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) if they:

  • either have a potential to discharge from the production area or the land-application area
  • or propose to discharge from the production area or the land-application area. (A CAFO proposes to discharge if it is designed, constructed, operated, or maintained such that a discharge will occur.)

The permit includes an exemption for agricultural stormwater discharges provided the operation is implementing a current nutrient management plan.

Make, Follow Nutrient Management Plan

Nutrient management plans are now a requirement. Even if large and medium animal feeding operations do not intend to apply for a permit, they still are required:

  • to develop and follow a nutrient management plan.
  • to maintain the records associated with that plan.

A producer’s land application of manure or poultry litter without a nutrient management plan can be considered intent to discharge without a permit. That producer, therefore, would be in violation of the CAFO rule.

The producer could then be issued a notice of violation and be required to obtain a permit.

Assistance Available

Producers who apply for a permit from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection will be required to provide their nutrient management plan as a part of the public comment period for the permitting process.

Producers who need assistance in developing a nutrient management plan or filling out a permit application may contact any West Virginia certified nutrient management planner or the West Virginia Department of Agriculture’s Moorefield Field Office.

Prepared by Tom Basden, WVU Extension Service nutrient management specialist, and Christina Richmond, Tyler County WVU Extension Service agent.