Unified National Strategy for animal feeding operations
by Paul Miller, manure management specialist, Natural Resources Conservation Service
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have developed a Unified National Strategy to address the effects of animal feeding operations on water quality and public health. The Unified National Strategy (often referred to as the AFO/CAFO Strategy) is part of the Clean Water Action Plan.
Animal feeding operations are defined as agricultural enterprises in which animals are raised in confinement. It is estimated that there are more than 350,000 animal feeding operations in the United States. Iowa is home to approximately 40,000 animal feeding operations.
The final animal feeding operation strategy, released by the USDA and EPA on March 9, 1999, reflects comments received during a 120-day public comment period as well as issues raised during 11 national "listening sessions."
The strategy encourages owners and operators of animal feeding operations to develop and implement comprehensive nutrient management plans to minimize water pollution from confinement facilities and land application of manure. The comprehensive nutrient management plans must be technically sound and economically feasible. They also must be site specific to complement the operationís total resource management objectives. The following components should be part of a comprehensive nutrient management plan:
For approximately 95 percent of animal feeding operations, the strategy is voluntary. The strategy is administered locally and includes environmental education and financial and technical assistance programs to help producers develop and implement comprehensive nutrient management plans.
The remaining operations, for which the strategy is required, are those designated as concentrated animal feeding operations. Those operations must have National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. Concentrated animal feeding operations are those with the following specifications:
The strategy addresses seven strategic issues and identifies actions to implement the strategy. Several organizations may implement these actions. They include the USDA and EPA, as well as state and local government entities, producers, integrators, livestock industry, private groups, and research and educational institutions and environmental groups. Electronic copies of the strategy can be downloaded from the "Current News" button on the Iowa Manure Management Action Group Web site at http://extension.agron.iastate.edu/immag/
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Page last updated October 5, 2004
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