Producers Should Check State Law Changes for Confinements
By Karen Grimes, Information Specialist, Iowa Department of Natural Resources
As confinement livestock and poultry producers make plans for the future, they should be aware of changes in state law that may affect them. The laws are already in effect or will be in effect shortly.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has begun drafting rules to implement the laws and is planning to hold two stakeholder meetings in midsummer to gather input on the draft rules. In the meantime, DNR staff is encouraging producers to read the laws because producers are still responsible for meeting the laws’ requirements.
Two bills passed this spring by the 83rd Iowa General Assembly could affect producers with confinement (completely roofed) feeding operations.
Stockpiling dry manure
The first, House File 735, sets requirements for stockpiling dry manure. The law went into effect when the Governor signed the bill on April 2. It establishes setback distances from residences and environmentally sensitive areas. It also sets minimum requirements for covering or protecting stockpiles, depending upon when the confinement feeding operation was built or expanded, and the age of the stockpile.
Restricting frozen ground application
A second bill, Senate File 432, has two main provisions. The first provision deals with manure application from confinement feeding operations on frozen or snow-covered ground. This law restricts surface application of liquid manure on frozen or snow-covered ground except in emergencies. It applies only to producers who are required to submit a manure management plan to the DNR. Generally, this includes confinement swine operations housing 1,250 or more finishers and dairy operations with 350 or more mature dairy cows, but is not limited to swine and dairy operations. This provision is effective on July 1, meaning that liquid manure application will be restricted this coming winter.
Location of dry bedded confinements and stockpiles
A second provision of Senate File 432 sets requirements for the location of dry bedded confinements and for manure originating from them. A new or expanding dry bedded confinement must be separated from residences and other buildings, and from water sources. There are some additional requirements for buildings and dry bedded manure stockpiles located above vulnerable groundwater areas including karst (primarily in northeast Iowa) and shallow sand and gravel aquifers (generally along streams). Otherwise, the laws for stockpiling dry bedded manure are essentially the same as those that apply to open feedlots (unroofed or partially unroofed animal feeding operations). This provision became effective when the Governor signed the bill on May 26.
Although small animal feeding operations are exempt from some requirements under the new laws, all producers are required to follow minimum manure control requirements to avoid causing water quality violations.