Iowa Plan for Open Feedlots
by Karen Grimes, Department of Natural Resources
More than 800 open feedlot producers have registered with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) since the Iowa Cattlemens Association (ICA) and the DNR agreed on a three-part plan to bring open feedlots into compliance with current laws on March 21. The federal and state laws have been in place since the 1970s but have not been actively enforced.
The agreement was
driven by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys (EPA) criticism
of the DNRs permitting and enforcement efforts. The EPA reviewed
state programs and inspected open feedlots in the four-state EPA Region
The three-part plan includes voluntary registration by producers, an in-house environmental assessment by the DNR to determine environmental priorities, and producer compliance with current regulations.
Producers who want to take advantage of the program have until December 31 of this year to register their feedlots. Those who register will not be fined by the DNR if they need a federal permit and do not have one. The DNR also has agreed not to conduct routine inspections on registered open feedlots during 2001 and not to fine producers for minor water quality violations, provided they are working to comply with the regulations.
Producers with registered open feedlots also can expect the EPA to bypass them during 2001. Any inspections done by the EPA will focus on unregistered, unpermitted open feedlots. EPA inspections could result in substantial penalties for producers who are required to have permits but do not have them.
Permits are issued through the DNR and are required for open feedlots with more than 1,000 animal units (1,000 beef cattle, 700 dairy cattle, or 2,500 swine). Depending on their location, smaller operations with more than 300 animal units (for example, 300 beef cattle or 200 dairy cows) also may need a permit.
The voluntary registration with the DNR will start the permit process. After registration, there will be an in-house assessment by using existing geographic information systems (GIS) soils and topography maps to assign a high, medium, or low environmental priority to each feedlot. Then DNR field staff will go on-site to work with producers, to determine whether the in-house assessment is accurate and decide whether anything needs to be done to reach compliance. The goal is to have all open feedlots in compliance within 5 years. Higher priority lots will be the first to receive visits and will be asked to have a compliance schedule within 2 years. Lots with 300 or less animal units will not be prioritized or assessed by the DNR.
Current state and federal laws require all open feedlots to settle out solids and for all manure to be land applied in a way that will not cause surface or groundwater pollution. Additional controls are required of feedlots that need a permit.
More information and registration forms can be found on the Iowa Manure Management Action Groups (IMMAG) Web site, located at http://extension.agron.iastate.edu/immag/ and the DNR Web site at http://www.state.ia.us/dnr/organiza/epd/
In addition to the
For more information,
contact Wayne Gieselman, DNR Animal Feeding Operations Coordinator, at
515-281-5817; Barb Lynch, DNR Field Office 3 Supervisor, at 712-262-4177;
Carol Balvanz, Vice President of Public Policy,
Number of Registered
Lots as of
Location of Registered
Lots as of
*Three registration forms did not have a county location.
© 1997-2004, Iowa State University. All rights reserved.
Page last updated October 5, 2004
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