Odor and Nutrient Management Newsletter

Winter 2001

Registration deadline approaching for Iowa Plan for Open Feedlots

by Karen Grimes, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Photo of cows at bunkRegistration for the Iowa open feedlot program exceeded 1,000 producers on November 1, an unprecedented response for a voluntary, cooperative program designed to help producers bring their lots into environmental compliance. However, the window of opportunity closes at year’s end for producers who want to register their open feedlots with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). After December 31, 2001, open feedlots cannot qualify for the Iowa Plan for Open Feedlots, a program that gives them extra time to design and complete a compliance plan.

Registration is important for larger lots, especially those with more than 1,000 animal units, and some mid-sized lots that need a federal permit. Mid-sized lots with 200 head of dairy cattle or 300 head of beef cattle could need a permit if they discharge directly into a stream. Under federal regulations, the lots that need a permit also need a runoff control basin. All lots, regardless of size, need a solids settling system. Whether the open feedlot size is large or small, it pays to talk to DNR staff before constructing any manure control structure to be sure that the structure meets current environmental requirements.

Registering before December 31, 2001, will buy time for producers who need to have a permit, allowing them to plan their system and construct it without a penalty from the DNR for not having a permit. Other benefits of registering for the program include the following:

  • limited immunity from DNR penalties for some water quality violations,
  • freedom from inspections from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the remainder of 2001, and
  • freedom from DNR routine inspections in 2001.

Photo of cowsThe three-part plan includes voluntary registration by producers, an in-house environmental assessment by the DNR followed by an on-site evaluation to determine environmental priorities, and producer compliance with current regulations. To date, 222 in-house environmental assessments and 11 on-site evaluations have been completed.

The Iowa Plan for Open Feedlots was developed to respond to the EPA’s criticism of the DNR’s permitting and enforcement efforts. The EPA reviewed state programs and inspected open feedlots in the four-state EPA Region VII of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri last year. The EPA’s data show that Iowa has issued permits for less than 10 percent of the 310 open feedlots that need a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.

If you have questions about the Iowa Plan for Open Feedlots, please call Wayne Gieselman at 515-281-5817, Barb Lynch or Ken Hessenius at 712-262-4177, or me at 515-281-5135. For more information about the Iowa Plan for Open Feedlots visit http://extension.agron.iastate.edu/immag/openfeedlot/plan.html on the IMMAG Web site.

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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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