NW Iowa Feedlot Plan

January-March 2002

Beth Ellen Doran , beef field specialist,

Situation: The Environmental Protection Agency proposed new regulations regarding confined animal feeding operations (CAFO's) and animal feeding operations (AFO's). Concurrently, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), ag commodity groups, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and Iowa State University (ISU) staff developed the Iowa Feedlot Plan. This amnesty program was designed to bring Iowa open feedlots into compliance with the Clean Water Act of 1972.

Results: The Northwest Iowa Feedlot Meeting was held on Feb. 21 at Sioux Center sponsored by ISU Extension, Iowa Beef Center (IBC) , Iowa Cattlemen's Association (ICA) and Dordt College . The program featured Wayne Gieselman, DNR; Carol Balvanz, ICA ; and Paul Miller, NRCS. It focused upon Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed regulations and the Iowa Feedlot Plan. Nearly 200 producers from 16 Iowa counties and 3 states ( Iowa , Minn. and S.D.) attended. This meeting inspired three busloads of producers to attend an EPA open meeting in Ames , Iowa on Mar. 7th. A total of 663 producers and agribusiness people from 8 states attended the EPA hearing.

Other events included:
April 2 - 11, Kris Kohl hosted Meet-The-Ag-Engineer. At this event he met individually with producers in six NW county offices. Eighteen of 28 clients were beef producers.

April 19, a statewide Iowa Communications Network (ICN) program was held, hosted by the IBC, featured the Iowa Feedlot Plan. NW county extension staff hosted the ICN in five counties,reaching 19 producers.

Two CAFO meeting were held in Sheldon and Cherokee on June 21. These meetings, co-sponsored by IDALS, ISU and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, focused upon the EPA proposed regulations and how to comment. The comment period with EPA closed July 30, 2001. More than 12,000 letters from throughout the U.S. were received; 9,000 were form letters.

On August 22, Ken Hessenius, DNR officer at Spencer, spoke at the Doon Field Day about the current status of environmental regulations and inspections for open feedlots.

Between Feb. 21 and Dec. 31, 10 news articles, 77 minutes of audio interviews, 50 phone calls and 41 office visits were handled by NW Area ISU Extension staff about the EPA proposed regulations and the Iowa Feedlot Plan.

The Iowa Feedlot Plan closed on Dec. 31, 2001. An early estimate from DNR indicates that 286 producers from the NW area registered. The county breakdown is as follows: 30 - Cherokee; 69 - Lyon; 16 - O'Brien; 9 - Osceola; 36 - Plymouth ; and 126 - Sioux.

Impact: A long-term evaluation was sent to 153 clients who attended the Feb. 21st Iowa Feedlot Meeting. Forty (26%) responded. When asked how Extension environmental education programs had affected them, 87.5% responded that they had increased their understanding of the Iowa Feedlot Plan, and 85% better understood the AFO/CAFO regulations proposed by EPA. About 55% had an increased awareness of who to contact for an environmental audit of their feed yard. More than 52% indicated they had increased their awareness of who to contact about environmental questions.

Clients were also asked how they had used the information from the educational programming. Seventy percent said they had shared information about environmental issues with friends and neighbors. Fifty-five percent had registered with the Iowa DNR for the Open Feedlot Plan permit. About one-third had taken a proactive approach by attending the EPA Open Meeting, submitting written or e-mail comments to the EPA or contacting their legislators about environmental issues.

One of the questions asked,"What other environmental education or information would be helpful to you?" The most common response was the need to be updated as new developments and regulations occur or as new funding becomes available.

Future plans include a spring series of beef waste management tours. Kris Kohl and I will be working with DNR, NRCS and ag commodity groups to demonstrate solids settling, discuss current/future regulations and to explore financial assistance for manure management in open feedlots.


Page last updated: July 11, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu