Odor and Nutrient Management Newsletter

Fall 2004

Iowa plan for open feedlots beef producers should prepare for compliance

by Rachel E. Martin, Iowa Beef Center

Three years ago, the Iowa Department of Cattlemen’s Association, National Resource Conservation Service, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created the Iowa Plan for Open Feedlots, which intends to bring Iowa cattle producers into compliance with the Clean Water Act by 2006.

Components of the Iowa Plan for Open Feedlots are:
1. Feedlots of 1000-head capacity and greater were allowed to register by December 31, 2001 in order become part of the program and receive protection from EPA visits.
2. An in-house environmental assessment is conducted by Iowa DNR to determine the environmental risk associated with each lot. Lots are ranked as high, medium, or low environmental risk.
3. An on-site visit is conducted by Iowa DNR to review the in-house assessment and discuss compliance options and a compliance schedule for the feedlot.
4. The feedlot follows the compliance schedule to install manure control structures, with all feedlots in compliance by 2006.

Solids settling basin on feedlot with less than 1,000 animal units
Solids settling basin on feedlot with less than 1,000 animal units

According to a recent assessment by the EPA, much work remains to be done in order to get all registered facilities into compliance. As a result, the Iowa DNR is stepping up efforts to assist producers in becoming compliant. All feedlots of 1000-head capacity and greater have been, or will be, visited for their on-site assessment by the end of this summer.

This feedlot has more than 1,000 animal units and is required to capture all manure.
This feedlot has more than 1,000 animal units and is required to capture all manure

Following the on-site visit, the following timeline for submittal of information is applied to the large-capacity feedlots:

  • 45 days to designate a licensed professional engineer registered in Iowa or NRCS personnel (an engineer is only required if a construction permit will be necessary)
  • six months to submit a plan of action
  • 12 months to have the feedlot in compliance, or moving toward compliance using a phased approach
  • failure to submit the required information by the appropriate deadline will result in a notice of violation
  • failure to submit the required information within 45 days of the notice of violation will result in an administrative order, which may include a penalty.

What’s on the horizon for smaller feedlots?

CAFO Implications
According to Gene Tinker, Iowa DNR’s Animal Feeding Operations Coordinator, open lots with less than 1000-head capacity won’t need to have a nutrient management plan, since CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operations) regulations are restricted mostly to confinement operations. However, Tinker does stress that all operations will need to settle solids. The Iowa DNR is in the process of visiting these smaller operations, which number in the thousands.

A plan for settling solids will need to involve a good plan for removing effluent off the solid-settling system. Tinker cautions producers to be aware that if their plan involves draining effluent directly into a water of the state, that automatically designates the feedlot operation as a CAFO, and therefore concrete basins will be necessary.

Assistance is available
Feedlot owners and managers should be in touch with the Iowa DNR throughout this progression, and can also use ISU Extension ag engineers and beef field specialists throughout the compliance process. For more information, visit the Iowa Beef Center Web site at www.iowabeefcenter.org or call (515) 294- BEEF.

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Page last updated October 5, 2004

Iowa Manure Matters: Odor and Nutrient Management is published by Iowa State University Extension, with funding support from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service through Cooperative Agreement No. 74-6114-8-22. To subscribe or change the address of a current subscription, write to Angela Rieck-Hinz, 2104 Agronomy Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, 50011-1010 or call 515-294-9590, fax 515-294-9985 or email: amrieck@iastate.edu. Please indicate you are inquiring about the Odor and Nutrient Management Newsletter. The newsletter's coordinators are Angela Rieck-Hinz, extension program specialist, Department of Agronomy, Wendy Powers, environmental extension specialist, Department of Animal Science, and Robert Burns, Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering; the editor is Jean McGuire, the subscription manager is Rachel Klein, the production designer is Beth Kroeschell, and the web page designer is Liisa Jarvinen.

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