Livestock producers, primarily those who have beef and dairy farms, may need to act soon if they raise large numbers of the same kind of animals in both indoor and outdoor housing.
Based on industry input, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources estimates that there are less than 200 or 250 livestock operations that will need the permit. But, those who do, must act quickly. Producers who are affected must apply for a permit by Dec. 31, 2008.
The permit is called a national pollutant discharge elimination system permit, or NPDES, explains Gene Tinker, coordinator of livestock regulations for the Iowa DNR. Affected producers must apply for an NPDES permit to the DNR, develop and submit a nutrient management plan and determine how they will comply with any needed construction requirements – all by the end of the year.
Who needs to get a permit?
Tinker says three considerations can help producers decide if they need a permit:
* Does the operation have any of the following: 700 or more mature dairy cows, milked or dry? Or 1,000 or more veal calves? Or 1,000 or more of all other cattle types?
For example, dairy producers raising replacement heifers and feeding out dairy steers would add both of these together to determine if they have 1,000 head.
* Does the operation discharge? Most Iowa producers who house animals outside have periodic runoff allowing manure components or process wastewater to reach a stream. In contrast, since Iowa confinement operations are not allowed to discharge, any discharges that occur are likely due to an accident or pipe failure and are in violation of state law.
* How close are the different parts of their operation? Animals housed within 1,250 feet of each other would be added together.
Producers can call their DNR field office for more information and technical assistance. Also, information is on the DNR Web site www.iowadnr.com/afo/index.html under Current News.
Tinker says the requirement to obtain an NPDES permit for combined open feedlot and confinement facilities is the result of state law passed in 2008 to help producers comply with federal regulations.