Odor and Nutrient Management Newsletter

Winter 2002

Updates on certification program

Karen Grimes, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

The new livestock law, Senate File 2293, approved April 29, 2002, will result in some changes in the manure applicators program administered by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The changes mean that some smaller operations will need to have manure management plans and to become certified confinement site applicators for manure application. Conversely, a few larger operations will no longer need manure management plans or confinement site applicator certification. Changes in separation distances for land application of manure could potentially affect all applicators. Finally, a large number of confinement site manure applicators will be required to take a test before renewing their certificates under current provisions of the law.

Size of operation. Both the new and the old law gave a number of exemptions to small animal feeding operations (SAFOs). For example, if an operation is an SAFO then it is not required to have a manure management plan or to have a certified confinement site manure applicator. SAFOs are also exempt from some separation distance requirements for land application of manure.

Under the new livestock law some operations that previously had SAFO exemptions will no longer have them because the SAFO definition has changed. In the past, the size of the operation was based on animal weight capacity. An SAFO was any animal feeding operation with 200,000 pounds or less for pork or poultry operations (400,000 pounds or less for dairy or beef operations). The new definition is based on an animal unit capacity of 500 or less animal units.

To calculate the number of animal units in an operation, the number of animals is multiplied by an equivalency factor that is specific to each type of animal. For example, 500 beef cattle would be multiplied times an equivalency factor of 1.0 to equal 500 animal units. Also, 500 finishing swine would be multiplied times a factor of 0.4 to equal 200 animal units.

Under the old law a swine operation with more than 1,333 swine finishers needed a manure management plan. Under the new law, the threshold dips to approximately 1,250 swine finishers. However, the permit threshold went up for gestating or lactating sows, and for most poultry operations.

See Table 1 to determine whether your operation is affected and to compare the number of animals that make up an SAFO under the old and the new law. If your operation is no longer an SAFO, check with your county extension office this fall to find out when you can take the required manure applicator certification training in January or February.

Manure applicator testing. Approximately 600 confinement site or private manure applicators will be required to take a test before they can renew their 3-year certificates in January or February 2003. See the article on pages 4–5 for a list of confinement site manure applicator training workshops. A law passed in 1998 allows confinement site manure applicators to choose between taking a test once or taking a 2-hour training session annually during each of the 3 years of certification. Confinement site manure applicators who started out by taking annual training in 1999 and then missed a training session must take a test to complete the training/testing requirement.

More than 85 percent of applicators pass the test the first time that they take it. The test questions are multiple choice or true/false, and are based mostly on common sense. Most applicators won’t have to study for the test, but they should understand DNR manure application rules such as the required separation distances for land application, available on the DNR Web site at http://www.state.ia.us/dnr/organiza/epd/wastewtr/feedlot/sepdstb4.pdf.

Study materials will be available on the Web beginning December 1, 2002, at http://extension.agron.iastate.edu/immag/mac.html. If you don’t have access to the Web, you may request copies of the materials at your county extension office. Fees may apply for copying or paper costs.

The DNR will notify all applicators who must take a make-up test. Testing will begin after December 31, 2002, when all confinement site applicator certificates issued in 1999 will expire. The tests will be offered during the January and February 2003, grace period by DNR field offices (see attached list of testing times and locations). To renew their certificates, applicators can decide to take 3 years of training or pass another test for the next 3 years of certification.

After March 1, commercial and confinement site applicators must pay an additional late fee of $12.50 before renewing their certificates. They cannot apply manure until they are certified.

Separation distances and land application. The new livestock law changed some of the laws for land application of manure. Starting on March 1, 2003, manure applicators who incorporate manure near a designated or protected area after land application must incorporate on the same date that the manure was applied.

Other changes for land application that take effect starting March 1, 2003, include the following:

  • a 200-foot separation distance must be maintained around unplugged agricultural drainage wells or surface intakes to ag drainage wells if manure is not injected or incorporated on the same day;
  • the DNR is allowed to require a larger separation distance (up to 4 times the normally required separation distance or 800 feet) from high-quality water resources;
  • farm ponds or privately owned lakes will be removed from the list of designated areas; and
  • water sources (including lakes, rivers, streams, and ditches) and designated wetlands will be added to the list of designated areas (see the fact sheet Separation Distances for Land Application of Manure on the DNR Web site on page 7 for more information).

Exam Locations and Times
Because of limited space, preregistration is required to take a test. A photo identification card also is required. Please bring a number 2 pencil and a calculator to the exam site. Contact DNR field offices at the following phone numbers to preregister and to obtain more information.

North East Iowa
(563) 927-2640
January 16 and February 6, F & M Bank, Manchester, 9:00 a.m.

North Central
(641) 424-4073
January 8, Ellsworth Community College, Reg. Johnson Auditorium, Iowa Falls, 10:00 a.m.
January 14 and 23, Lime Creek Nature Center, Mason City, 10:00 a.m.

North West Iowa
(712) 262-4177
January 16 and 21, Iowa Lakes Community College, Room 108, Spencer, 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. (2 sessions, both days)

South West Iowa
(712) 243-1934
January 14 and 23, Field Office 4, 1401 Sunnyside Lane, Atlantic, 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
(2 sessions, both days)

South Central
(515) 725-0268
January 13 and February 10, Field Office 5, 401 SW 7th, Suite I, Des Moines, 10:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. (2 sessions, both days)
January 27, Field Office 5, 401 SW 7th, Suite I, Des Moines, 10:00 a.m.

South East Iowa
(319) 653-2135
January 15 and February 11, Pizza Ranch, Washington, 10:00 a.m.

Table 1. Equivalent number of confinement animals to define an SAFO under the new law and previous law.

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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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