EPA Issues New Requirements For CAFOs

The Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a rule "helping to protect the nation's water quality" by requiring concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to safely manage manure. EPA estimates CAFO regulations will prevent 56 million pounds of phosphorus, 110 million pounds of nitrogen and 2 billion pounds of sediment from entering streams, lakes and other waters annually.

"EPA's new regulation of animal feedlots sets a strong national standard for pollution prevention and environmental protection, while maintaining our country's economic and agricultural competitiveness," said assistant administrator for water Benjamin H. Grumbles. "This clean water rule strengthens environmental safeguards by embracing a zero discharge standard and requiring site-specific management plans to prevent runoff of excess nutrients into our nation's waters."

This is the first time EPA has required a nutrient management plan (NMP) for manure to be submitted as part of a CAFO's Clean Water Act permit application. Previous rules required a CAFO operator to use an NMP for controlling manure, but the regulation builds on that by requiring the NMP to be submitted with the permit application. The plan will be reviewed by the permitting authority and conditions based on it will be incorporated as enforceable terms of the permit. The proposed NMP and permit will be available for public review and comment before going final.

The regulation also requires that an owner or operator of a CAFO that actually discharges to streams, lakes and other waters must apply for a permit under the Clean Water Act. If a farmer designs, constructs, operates and maintains their facility such that a discharge will occur, a permit is needed. EPA is also providing an opportunity for CAFO operators who do not discharge or propose to discharge to show their commitment to pollution prevention by obtaining certification as zero dischargers.

Read more @ Farm Futures.

CAFOs and fish kills

“Excess nutrients in water such as nitrogen and phosphorus can result in or contribute to fish kills.”

Concentrated animal feeding operations continue to be a leading source of water quality impairment in the U.S., EPA said. Consolidation trends in the livestock industry have resulted in larger-sized operations that generate about 500 million tons of manure annually, the agency said in a release.

The NPDES permit program, established under the Clean Water Act, controls water pollution by regulating sources that discharge pollutants to waters in the United States.

Read more @ US EPA.

PEW report on CAFO dangers

Pew Commission Says Industrial Scale Farm Animal Production Poses “Unacceptable” Risks to Public Health, Environment

The current industrial farm animal production (IFAP) system often poses unacceptable risks to public health, the environment and the welfare of the animals themselves, according to an extensive 2½-year examination conducted by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production (PCIFAP), in a study released today.

Commissioners have determined that the negative effects of the IFAP system are too great and the scientific evidence is too strong to ignore. Significant changes must be implemented and must start now. And while some areas of animal agriculture have recognized these threats and have taken action, it is clear that the industry has a long way to go.

Public Health

Over the past five decades, the number of farms producing animals for food has fallen dramatically, yet the number of food animals produced has remained roughly constant. It is the concentration of farm animals in larger and larger numbers in close proximity to one another, along with the potential of IFAP facilities to affect people, that give rise to many of the public health concerns that are attributed to IFAP. Animals in such close confinement, along with some of the feed and animal management methods employed in the system, increase pathogen risks and magnify opportunities for transmission from animals to humans. This increased risk is due to at least three factors: prolonged worker contact with animals, increased pathogen transmission within a herd or flock, and the increased opportunities for the generation of antimicrobial resistant bacteria (due to imprudent antimicrobial use) or new strains of viruses. Stresses induced by confinement may also increase the likelihood of infection and illness in animal populations.

Read more @ Pew Commission.


Lax Regulations On CAFOs

Both the feed-growing and livestock operations can be significant polluters of the local and greater environment. Fertiliser run-off is a serious problem polluting many small water ways, large rivers and now even a large part of the Bay of Mexico. Pesticides can be highly dangerous and virtually impossible to apply without affecting the wider environment. Animal wastes can be a significant danger due to the large number of pathogens they can contain. Often environmental restrictions on modern concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are lax or less restrictive than those that apply to other industries. For example, animal waste can often be discharged straight into the environment while human waste is required to undergo significant processing before discharge.

Read more by Henry Hoffman.

Indiana neighbors frown on big pig operations

by Kevin Leininger

As far as Allen County land-use laws and Matt Schlatter are concerned, a farm is a farm. But to Charles Critchley and some of his neighbors, the presence of thousands of animals in a confined space isn't a farm at all - and should be treated accordingly.

Can the two sides find the common ground needed to prevent the increasingly common conflict between residential and agricultural interests? In the best American tradition, they have created a committee to find out. It's a worthy effort, and I wish them luck. They'll need it.

At issue are concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and smaller confined feeding operations (CFOs) that raise livestock in confined spaces, bringing food to the animals instead of allowing them to graze outdoors. Because waste from thousands of confined animals can pose a threat to the water supply if not properly managed, the operations - 2,190 statewide and 22 in Allen County - are regulated by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. But, under the county's current zoning laws, they can operate on any land designated for agricultural use.

And that's just not good enough for Critchley, who has lived in the small southeast Allen County community of Maples for more than 40 years and is fighting a neighbor's attempt to operate a 4,000-hog CAFO a mile or so away.

“Ten or 20 hogs wouldn't bother us,” said Critchley, a retired engineer with General Dynamics, a military contractor. “But from our standpoint, not all farms are alike. To us, this is an industry. There needs to be a distinction (in the law) between farms and this CAFO, which would hurt our property values.” Critchley is also concerned that the exhaust from the facility could pollute the air - something not currently regulated by IDEM.

Read more at the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel.


How Well Do You Know Your Food?

Factory Farms

Many animals that are raised for food for people in the U.S. such as cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys, don’t live outdoors. They seldom see the sun, don’t feel grass underneath their feet, or play chase with their friends. They live in pens and cages in huge buildings called “factory farms“. There are no windows in factory farms, so animals raised there have never seen a cloud, a tree or a flower.

All these animals know about the world is how the steel bars of their cages taste, how it feels to lay or stand on concrete floors and wire cages, and how it feels to be locked in a cage so small that they can hardly move. Factory farms are also dirty and crowded, which makes it easy for diseases to spread. Because of unsanitary, crowded conditions which are filled with disease, farmers must administer antibiotics to animals. The antibiotics in meat eaten by people cause our bodies to harbor bacteria that in turn become resistant to medications. Approximately 78 percent of antibiotic use in our country is done in factory farm environments.

When you eat meat, dairy, or eggs from a factory farm environment, you can harm your health because the unnatural conditions of these operations affect the quality of your food – meats, dairy products, and eggs are full of antibiotics, chemicals, hormones, and the animals are given feed that is unnatural for them to consume (grains, corn, soy) - and ultimately, your health.

Factory farms also harm the environment by the methods used for production and farming. Pollution and waste created in the factory farm environment enter our ecosystems - soil, water, and air, and make our world a more toxic place to live.

Read more @ Agriculture Society.


Schottler Dairy Farm Exapnsion Plan

The following was taken from the December 10, 2008 Town Board Meeting minutes. It gives an overview of the Schottler Dairy Farm plan.

Marie Colbeth, representing the Schottler Dairy Farm, her father, John Schottler, husband, Rick Colbeth, and brothers, Nick and Joe Schottler, came forward to explain and answer questions about their dairy proposal. She explained the family is exploring the possibility of a 3,800 cow dairy to be built in Erin Prairie Township in section 20 or 29. The decision has not been made exactly where the dairy will be located, an engineer will help in the planning and construction.

The 3,800 animals will include approximately 500 dry cows and 300 calves. About 80-100 acres are necessary to build the farm site on and 5,600 acres available for manure spreading.

Questions were raised concerning the smell, disposal of the manure, the water level, ground water contamination, whether this will cause lower property values for the homes located near it, and the wear on the roads surrounding the dairy. Several of those in attendance expressed that they do not want to be located near a large dairy because of the previously mentioned concerns and would prefer it not be built in Erin Prairie Township.

Comments were made that Erin Prairie is an agricultural township, which makes it the place something like this should be built. Erin Prairie does have many open acres available to handle the manure.

It was mentioned that Erin Prairie Township does not have any ordinances regulating or prohibiting large dairies from being built.

Many permits must be obtained from the state and/or county and this process will include informational hearings and meetings. At these hearings the DNR will be available to answer questions and concerns.

A comment was made thanking the Schottlers for presenting this to the community before the permitting and building process is started.

Read the complete minutes.

Wis. DNR approves Rosendale Dairy expansion of largest cafo

"We have yet to fully understand the environmental and economic ramifications of a (concentrated animal feeding operation) of this size," Beitlich said. "The groundwater contamination and air pollution produced by Rosendale will be unprecedented in Wisconsin. When Rosendale's plans are complete, it will produce 75 million gallons of manure per year and match the waste produced by the city of Green Bay."

Sue Beitlich
Wisconsin Farmers Union President

A waste-water discharge permit issued this week by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources opens the door for Rosendale Dairy to take the first step toward becoming the biggest dairy in the state.

The permit, coupled with a recently completed environmental impact study, will allow the owners to begin hiring as they increase the size of the herd from 700 cows to 4,000. A possible second phase requiring additional public review and DNR approval could add 4,000 cows for an eventual total of 8,000 cows.

DNR officials said the second expansion would make Rosendale the largest dairy farm in the state.

The large-scale operation has drawn criticism from some local residents and officials who fear the manure will harm the groundwater. Opponents also raised concerns about the odor and increased traffic from milk and supply trucks and farm machinery moving in and out of the farm.

Read more @ Oshkosh Northwesterner.


Historical Perspective: Farm (Manure) Digesters

THE history of BioCycle’s coverage of anaerobic digestion can be traced back to its inaugural issue in Spring 1960, when the journal, originally named Compost Science, published “Composting Manure by Anaerobic Methods.” Dr. Clarence G. Golueke of the Sanitary Engineering Research Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley — and a member of the founding Editorial Board — wrote the article, concluding that “reduction to a stable humus by anaerobic digestion seems to offer great promise for a relatively inexpensive and yet completely sanitary method of disposing of manure.”

Golueke described a simple process of “dumping or flushing all wastes into an airtight container in which bacteria can break down the organic matter to form humus and a combustible gas. The procedure provides sanitary treatment of organic wastes and results in a great reduction in flies. It also makes possible the efficient and economical recovery of some of the waste carbon as methane for fuel. It produces humus and nutrients for use on soils. Moreover, both liquid and solid wastes may be treated in one operation. Practicality of the process has been demonstrated by its successful use on European farms.”

Golueke noted that the “evolved gas is approximately two-thirds methane and one-third carbon dioxide,” which is pretty standard in the literature. He continued: “Thirty-five cubic feet of the gas compares to one quart of alcohol, 52.5 cubic feet of manufactured city gas, or 2.2 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electrical energy. The humus remaining after digestion is comparable to that obtained from digesting sewage sludge. It has a nitrogen content varying from one to two percent by dry weight.... Digester size and number will depend on the quantity of wastes available. For example, 1,400 pounds of cow manure without bedding and with normal moisture will require approximately one cubic yard of digester space. Space requirements for an equivalent manure naturally will increase according to the amount of bedding used.”

Read more @ BioCycle.

The Hidden Link Between Factory Farms and Human Illness

You may be familiar with many of the problems associated with concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs. These “factory farm” operations are often criticized for the smell and water pollution caused by all that concentrated manure; the unnatural, grain-heavy diets the animals consume; and the stressful, unhealthy conditions in which the animals live. You may not be aware, however, of the threat such facilities hold for you and your family’s health — even if you never buy any of the meat produced in this manner.

farms are breeding grounds for virulent disease, which can then spread to the wider community via many routes — not just in food, but also in water, the air, and the bodies of farmers, farm workers and their families. Once those microbes become widespread in the environment, it’s very difficult to get rid of them.

A 2008 report from the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, a joint project of the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, underscores those risks. The 111-page report, two years in the making, outlines the public health, environmental, animal welfare and rural livelihood consequences of what they call “industrial farm animal production.” Its conclusions couldn’t be clearer. Factory farm production is intensifying worldwide, and rates of new infectious diseases are rising. Of particular concern is the rapid rise of antibiotic-resistant microbes, an inevitable consequence of the widespread use of antibiotics as feed additives in industrial livestock operations.

Scientists, medical personnel and public health officials have been sounding the alarm on these issues for some time. The World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have recommended restrictions on agricultural uses of antibiotics; the American Public Health Association (APHA) proposed a moratorium on CAFOs back in 2003. All told, more than 350 professional organizations — including the APHA, American Medical Association, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the American Academy of Pediatrics — have called for greater regulation of antibiotic use in livestock. The Infectious Diseases Society of America has declared antibiotic-resistant infections an epidemic in the United States. The FAO recently warned that global industrial meat production poses a serious threat to human health.

Read more @ Mother Earth News.

New infectious diseases are linked to the rise of factory animal farming

Factory farms are breeding grounds for virulent disease and disease resistant strains of antibiotics, according to the 2008 report from the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, in conjunction with the Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The commission's report highlights the risks to the public resulting from the growth of the industrialization of farm animal production. It is the result of two and one half years of investigation centered in four areas: public health, environmental impact, effects on farm communities, and animal health and welfare.

Fifteen commissioners, each with impressive credentials, concluded that while factory animal farming and production is increasing worldwide at an exponential rate, the rates of new forms of infectious diseases have been concurrently on the increase. There is clearly a link between factory farming and human illness.

Although the number of farms producing animals for food has declined dramatically in the past five decades as small independent farmers have been pushed out of the way by the giant food conglomerates, the number of food animals produced has stayed fairly constant. It is this concentration of farm animals in larger and larger numbers in ever closer proximity to one another, along with some of the feed and animal management methods used in the industrial system that has increased the risks of pathogens and created more opportunities for disease transmission to humans. Of particular concern is the increase in antibiotic use, needed to keep animals alive under such deplorable conditions. Excessive use of antibiotics has given rise to antibiotic-resistant microbes that pose a threat to the health of humans as well as animals.

The risks fall into three categories: prolonged worker contact with animals, increased pathogen transmission within a herd or flock, and the increased opportunities for the generation of antimicrobial resistant bacteria as the result of imprudent use of antibiotics, or new strains of viruses.

Communities near industrial farms animal production facilities are seen as particularly at risk, with children, the elderly, and individuals with chronic health conditions in the greatest danger of the health threats posed by such methods of farming.

Read more@ Natural News.

Efforts to regulate concentrated animal feeding operations get bipartisan support in Indiana House

Two bills that will regulate concentrated animal feeding operations have passed the Indiana House with bipartisan support and advance to the Indiana Senate.

House Bill 1075, which restricts the location of new CAFOs and confined feeding operations to two miles from state park and reservoir boundaries, passed on its third reading Tuesday morning by a 51-47 vote.

Area state representatives Phil Pflum, a Democrat, and Republicans Tom Saunders and Tom Knollman supported the setback bill. The bill was amended to allow existing livestock operations within the two-mile perimeter to expand, which was an issue for some representatives, Saunders said.

"If they are good neighbors, there's no reason not to allow expansion," Saunders said.

House Bill 1074, which requires the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to consider any environmental problems a CAFO or CFO applicant may have had with previous operations in the prior three years, was approved on a 64-32 vote.

Read more Pal-Irem.com.

PA Farmers Asked to Cut Back on Manure Smell

Farms known as "concentrated animal feeding operations" will need to get state approval before building a new manure-storage facility or expanding an old one.

Click to watch video.

Pennsylvania targets odors of farming

by Michael Yoder
Intelligencer Journal
Feb 26, 2009

You know you're from Lancaster County if you can tell the difference between the odors of cow, pig and chicken manure — and you have a preference between the three.

Now, new regulations going into effect Friday are intended to lessen the amount of barnyard odors coming from large-scale animal farming operations in Pennsylvania.

Chet Hughes, Penn State's interim director of the Lancaster County Extension, said the new regulation is a "peace-of-mind ruling for residents and for farmers," with the potential to reduce conflicts as populated centers move closer to agriculture.

The regulation requires new and expanding concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, to create an odor-management plan as part of the process of winning approval for construction.

Hughes said there has been more opposition to large-scale farming operations in other parts of the state and points to Lancaster County's agricultural background as generally being more accepting of not-so-pleasant smells.

"People know when they move in here there's going to be smells and there's going to be noise and ramifications from agriculture," Hughes said. "So it seems like people from this area are a little more used to the farming atmosphere."

Each odor-management plan, which is required for all new CAFOs but not existing operations, will list the best odor-management practices if an on-site evaluation or the state's odor site index indicates a medium or high potential for affecting neighbors.

The odor site index looks at the scope and type of operation as well as the number and location of farm neighbors. The odor plans have to be approved before construction begins. The regulation does not have requirements relating to the odor of manure spread in fields.


Michigan County Judge backs 'factory farm' pollution rules

by Jeff Alexander
The Muskegon Chronicle
Thursday January 22, 2009

A Newaygo County judge has upheld a state regulation designed to prevent large "factory farms" from polluting surface waters.

The Michigan Farm Bureau and other farm groups challenged whether the state Department of Environmental Quality could require all concentrated animal feeding operations, known as CAFOs, to obtain pollution discharge permits.

The permits, issued under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, regulate the amount of manure and other pollutants that CAFOs may discharge to surface waters. The DEQ in 2003 began requiring all CAFOs to obtain discharge permits; the regulation was aimed at keeping manure that CAFOs spread on farm fields from draining into surface waters.

Farm groups argued the state could only require discharge permits after a CAFO actually had a discharge of manure that caused water pollution.

In a written ruling issued earlier this week, Newaygo County Circuit Court Judge Anthony Monton sided with the DEQ.

"The enabling (law) for this rule provides the DEQ the legal authority to regulate potential discharges of animal waste from CAFOs," the judge said in his eight-page opinion. "The rule is rationally related to the DEQ's responsibility ... to protect Michigan's water resources from pollution."


Michigan Judge Rules CAFOS Need Permits

A Michigan judge has ruled that the state Department of Environmental Quality could require all concentrated-animal-feeding operations in the state to obtain pollution discharge permits.

Newaygo County Circuit Judge Anthony Monton said that state regulations requiring the permits were related to the DEQ’s responsibility to protect Michigan’s water resources.

The rule had been challenged by the Michigan Farm Bureau Federation and other agricultural groups. Their argument was that the state could only require discharge permits after a CAFO actually had a manure discharge that caused water pollution. Environmental activists lobbied hard and are now delighted that the judge rejected that argument.

Source: Pork Magazine

Some Pa. Farmers Must Now Control Manure Smell

by KYW’s Tony Romeo

New regulations have taken effect requiring certain Pennsylvania livestock farmers to better manage odors.

Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff says farms classified as “concentrated animal operations” or “concentrated animal feeding operations” will, if they build or expand facilities, have to consider a host of factors to mitigate odors; such as:

“How close is the nearest housing development -- residential area -- from your farming operation? Which way are the prevailing winds blowing? So it’s a matrix of different considerations when they’re looking at how they develop the plan. So the end result of this will be that large agriculture operations that have livestock, going forward will need to minimize odor.”

Wolff says it’s about farmers using better management practices to be good neighbors.

Source:KYW 1060 Radio