Details. Details. Details. That’s what it will take to comply with the new Confined Animal Feeding Operation regulations.

Many operations that fall under the CAFO rules already have a nutrient-management plan in place. While others may be starting from scratch.

“Either way, your first stop should be your local Natural Resources and Conservation Services office,” says Leonard Meador, environmental management specialist, Rossville, Ind.

This visit will allow you to find out who is the state’s permitting authority, a contact at the agency and what funding is available. Each state will have different reporting requirements, and may have additional funding options available. (See sidebar “Knowing What’s Required.”)

Besides getting your records in order, Meador stresses the importance of having a yield history of at least three to five years on the cropland you will use for manure-land application. This is necessary whether you farm the land or it’s owned by someone else.

“Another thing you should do is get a detailed set of maps for all of the cropland you use for manure application,” adds Meador. This means plat maps, NRCS aerial maps and Global Positioning System field maps. He points out that you can get these from your local Farm Service Agency office. You are the only one allowed to get copies of these maps, and by having them in

your possession it can save a lot of time throughout the recordkeeping process. 

“In most cases, producers are already meeting portions of the recordkeeping requirements,” says Bill Crawford, environmental manager with Preferred Capital Management in Fairmont, Minn. “They might have a nutrient management plan and are testing the manure. But they may not be keeping track of how much manure is applied on each field or doing soil testing to measure phosphorus content.”

If you already have parts and pieces of the required records, but need an organized system, Crawford suggests starting with something as basic as a three-ring binder with tabs.

Here’s an example of a recordkeeping system Crawford helped develop. The system consists of 10 tabs containing the following information:

Tab 1  Permitting

  • Local/county/township permits
  • Conditional-use permit
  • State permit
  • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit
  • Department of Natural Resources water-use permit

Tab 2   Land Available 

  • Aerial Farm Service Agency photos
  • GPS maps
  • Manure-application agreements
  • Manure contracts/permission
  • Easements

Tab 3   Manure Generation

  • Manure-management plan
  • Manure tests: before application and after application
  • Manure records: nutrient fact   sheet, and test well/tile monitoring results.

Tab 4   Soil Test Results

  • Baseline soil tests
  • Annual commerical fertilizer applications
  • Crop and yield history

Tab 5   Odor Strategies

  • Pit additives
  • Nutritional plans
  • Covers/bio-filters
  • Landscaping plans

Tab 6   Animal Mortalities

  • Farm plan/methods
  • Contract agreement

Tab 7   On-site Evaluations/Inspection

  • Internal yearly evaluation form
  • National Pork Producers Council On-Farm Environmental Assessment Report
  • Feedlot-inspection report
  • Consultant reports

Tab 8   Maintenance Checklist

  • Weely utility checklist
  • Inside-building checklist
  • Outside-maintenance checklist

Tab 9   Emergency Plan

  • Manure related
  • Personal accident/medical
  • Mechanical/electrical

Tab 10   Resources

  • Environmental consultants/engineers
  • Herd veterinarian

Keep in mind, this is just a starting point for gathering your records. One concern produces have is the additional costs and time it will take to maintain the Environmental Protection Agency-required records. EPA officials estimate that it will cost the livestock industry $326 million for CAFO recordkeeping. This is where federal and state funding comes in.

Although EPA only requires a nutrient-management plan for its CAFO rules, the federal Environmental Quality Incentives Program requires a Certified Nutrient Management Plan in order to get this funding. (see pg. 20 in the February issue of Pork for more information on Environmental Quality Incentives Program).

Some states are taking their requirements further than national guidelines, which will make it more difficult for producers to comply. By 2006, all CAFOs will have to comply with EPA’s regulations.

Another advantage of having the required records in place – and in one place – is that it will save you money. If a third party has to track down your manure-management records for you, plan on the costs adding up.

Bottom line, it’s going to cost you money to develop your nutrient-management plan – it’s a pay-now or pay-later proposition. The sooner you get started, the easier it will be. 

Knowing What’s Required

Confined Animal Feeding Operation recordkeeping requirements will probably vary by each state, if not by producer. But the Environmental Protection Agency does have basic CAFO recordkeeping guidelines to follow. Here’s what you will need:

For All CAFOs

  • A copy of your nutrient-management plan and any supporting materials.
  • Documentation on how you implemented your nutrient-management plan.

For Large CAFOs

  • Records of manure or wastewater transfers, such as:
    - When you sold or gave away manure or wastewater.
    - To whom you sold or gave manure or wastewater.
    - Amount of manure or wastewater you sold or gave away.
    - The current manure and wastewater analysis of the product you sold or gave away.
  • Records of your animal housing and manure-storage area, such as:
    - Dates and times when you conducted visual inspections of your manure, water and wastewater storage and handling systems.
    - How you corrected problems that you noticed during your visual inspections.
    - Amount of room left in your manure- and wastewater-storage structures.
    - The design volume and capacity of your manure- and wastewater-storage structures.
    - If there was an overflow from your manure- or wastewater-storage and handling systems, document when the overflow happened and how much manure or wastewater spilled.
    - How you dispose of animal mortalities.
  • Records for land where you spread manure or wastewater, such as:
    - How you calculated your manure-application rate.
    - The expected crop yield.
    - When and how you applied manure or wastewater to each field.
    - Weather conditions before, during and after you applied manure or wastewater to each field.
    - The results of your manure, wastewater and soil sampling and how you sampled.
    - Amount of soil phosphorus in each field.
    - Amount of nitrogen and phosphorus you plan to apply to each field, and how much you actually apply.
    - Date you inspected your equipment.

Information you must report:

Once a year, you must send a report to your permitting authority that includes:

  • Number and kind of animals that are involved with your CAFO.
  • Amount of manure and wastewater your operation generated during the year.
  • Amount of manure and wastewater you sold or gave away.
  • Number of acres of land you used to apply manure and wastewater.
  • Number of acres your nutrient-management plan covers.
  • If there were any discharges to surface water during the year.
  • If a certified nutrient-management planner developed or approved your nutrient management plan.