Design Rules for Open Feedlots in Place
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By Karen Grimes, Iowa Department of Natural Resources
The Environmental Protection Commission approved new design rules for the construction of open feedlots on Aug. 15.
Commissioners passed the rules on an emergency basis to provide design standards for open feedlot producers who are anxious to construct this fall. The rules become effective on Sept. 14.
This is particularly important for producers who plan to use alternative technologies and for more than 100 producers who are participating in the Iowa Plan for Open Feedlots. These producers, who must have a construction permit, will now have standards allowing them to meet both state and federal requirements.
With some concern from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about a lack of enforcement on open feedlots, the rules will provide validity to construction permits issued by the DNR, particularly for building alternative technology systems.
Alternative technology systems include site-specific designs for vegetated treatment areas and other means of treating the runoff from open feedlots after solid manure has been settled out.
As with any construction improvements, producers should work closely with design engineers so that designs accommodate their individual management styles. Producers should consider actual cropping practices and management during the design stage. Because of Iowa’s spring and fall rains, producers need to be certain that they have adequate land application fields available for the chosen effluent control system.
Whether or not the system is successful will depend upon how well the producer can work with the design, construction and management of the system.
The DNR will also proceed with the normal rulemaking process, so that producers and other stakeholders will have a chance to provide public input on the rules.
The actual rule can be found on the DNR Web site at http://www.iowadnr.com/afo/newrules.html. More information can also be obtained from Gene Tinker, coordinator of the DNR’s animal feeding operations, at (515) 281-3103.