Listed below are agriculture-related frequently questions compiled from the Southeastern states. This page also provides links to other EPA sources for agriculture-related frequently asked questions and other EPA sources for general frequently asked questions.
- How do I find about the EPA’s role in agriculture?
- What local agencies, cooperatives and/or non-profit organizations are available to address farm, livestock, and/or row crop operations?
- Where can I find information on compliance with environmental regulations?
- Who do we need to get in touch with concerning a neighbor's cows which have uncontrolled access to a stream/creek?
- Who do we call to complain about the application of animal manure (odor, runoff concerns) from a dairy, hog or chicken farm to nearby fields/pastures?
- I have questions concerning air quality, where can I find assistance?
- What is the status of the Animal Feeding Operations Air Monitoring Study?
- What is CERCLA/EPCRA and how are livestock producers impacted by this rule?
- Will I need to report emissions of greenhouse gases from my farm?
- Where can I find information (i.e., guidance, enforcement, permitting) concerning concentrated animal feed operations?
- If I determine that I am required to report an air release of hazardous substances from animal waste under EPCRA, and I want to satisfy the requirements applicable to a continuous release, am I required to call the National Response Center (NRC)?
- Does the "CERCLA/EPCRA Administrative Reporting Exemption for Air Releases of Hazardous Substances from Animal Waste at Farms", exempt me from EPCRA 304 reporting?
- I have a concern about a pesticide application which took place or will take near my farm/home. Who can I contact about this?
- I want more information about regulations impacting my use of pesticides. Who can I call or where can I go to get more information?
- What is composting?
- What is vermicomposting?
- What are some common composting methods?
- What is compost tea?
- What are the benefits of compost tea?
- What are some consumer uses for compost?
- What are some environmental uses for compost?
- Where can I find information about composting?
- What is agriculture plastic or plasticulture?
- Where can I find more information in my state about the use and disposal of agriculture plastics or plasticulture?
- How do I dispose of agriculture plastics?
A: The EPA Agriculture web page (http://www.epa.gov/agriculture/faq.html) addresses general agriculture related questions.
A: Contacts for local agencies, cooperatives and non-profit organizations that assist local agriculture producers can be found on the Region 4 Agriculture Partnership page.
A: The National Agriculture Compliance Assistance Center (Ag Center) is working with USDA and other federal and state agencies to provide the agricultural community with a definitive source for federal environmental compliance information.
A: US EPA Agriculture Air Topics provides basic information on air quality.
A: The study is ongoing and data collection will be complete by the fall of 2010. More information is provided at the link provided at Animal Feeding Operations Air Agreements.
A: The final rule, “CERCLA/EPCRA Administrative Reporting Exemption for Air Releases of Hazardous Substances from Animal Waste at Farms,” which became effective on January 20, 2009, is an exemption from the existing notification requirements that have been in place since the 1984 final rule on the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) notification requirements was published. The final rule exempts all farms that release hazardous substances from animal waste to the air that meet or exceed their reportable quantity (RQ) from reporting under CERCLA section 103. The final rule also exempts farms that release hazardous substances from animal waste to the air that meet or exceed their RQ from reporting under the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) section 304 if they stable or confine fewer than the following number of animal species:
- 700 mature dairy cows, whether milked or dry
- 1,000 veal calves
- 1,000 cattle other than mature dairy cows or veal calves. Cattle includes but is not limited to heifers, steers, bulls and cow/calf pairs
- 2,500 swine each weighing 55 pounds or more
- 10,000 swine each weighing less than 55 pounds
- 500 horses
- 10,000 sheep or lambs
- 55,000 turkeys
- 30,000 laying hens or broilers, if the farm uses a liquid manure handling system
- 125,000 chickens (other than laying hens), if the farm uses other than liquid manure handling system
- 82,000 laying hens, if the farm uses other than a liquid manure handling system
- 30,000 ducks (if the farm uses other than a liquid manure handling system)
- 5,000 ducks (if the farm uses a liquid manure handling system)
Animals that reside primarily outside of an enclosed structure (i.e., a barn or a feed lot) and graze on pastures are not stabled or confined. Additional information may be found at Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) Requirements.
A: The proposed rule would require agriculture operations with manure management systems that have emissions equal to or greater than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (mtCO2e) per year to report. As a comparison, 25,000 mtCO2e is equivalent to emissions from the annual energy use of about 2,200 homes, or 58,000 barrels of oil consumed or 131 railcars’ worth of coal. EPA estimates that 40 to 50 of the largest livestock operations would be required to report. No other greenhouse gas (GHG) emission source associated with agriculture is proposed to be covered.
The rule is provided at Proposed Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule.
Fact sheets for agriculture and livestock sectors and for manure management can be found at Regulations for AFOs Related to Air Programs.
A: The EPA Animal Feeding Operations – Office of Wastewater Management has a Web page that provides guidance for permits, funding and the Final CAFO rule. Additionally, the site provides CAFO Questions and Answers Supplement and supplemental information on the Unaffected Portions of the CAFO Rule Questions and Answers.
Q: If I determine that I am required to report an air release of hazardous substances from animal waste under EPCRA, and I want to satisfy the requirements applicable to a continuous release, am I required to call the National Response Center (NRC)?
A: You are not required to call the NRC. Your initial telephone notification should be directed to the community emergency coordinator for the LEPC for any area likely to be affected by the release and to the SERC of any State likely to be affected by the release.
A: This exemption does not exempt reporting under EPCRA 304. The final rule exempts all farms that release hazardous substances from animal waste to the air that meet or exceed their reportable quantity from reporting under CERCLA.
A: Call your State Pesticide Control Official. Contact information can be found through this web site: http://aapco.ceris.purdue.edu/htm/control.htm. Select your state from the map.
A: The National Agriculture Compliance Assistance Center has a page on pesticides which covers many topics related to pesticide use.
A: There are many simple things that can be done to reduce diesel emissions on your farm.
- Turn off farm equipment when not in use. Depending on the size of your engines, a diesel engine can use as much as 1 gallon of fuel per hour. That's costing you money and putting pollution into the air unnecessarily.
- Low or no till farming also reduces emissions because the diesel engines are not used to turn the earth
- Use biodiesel in diesel engines.
- Upgrade irrigation system (e.g., fix leaks, rebuild the impellers etc.)
- Retrofit diesel generators and irrigation pump engine
A: There is money through the SE Diesel Collaborative every year to fund diesel emission reduction projects
- In some AQ nonattainment areas, EQIP funds are dedicated for air quality improvement projects
- The Department of Energy provides funds for development of alternative fuel sources such as biodiesel
- Some things you can do actually save money
A: Composting is the controlled, biological stabilization of organics
A: Vermicomposting is a process that relies on earthworms and microorganisms to help stabilize active organic materials and convert them to a valuable soil amendment and source of plant nutrients.
A: Turned windrows, Passive aerated windrows, Aerated static piles, and In-vessel composting.
A: A liquid extract of compost containing soluble plant nutrients, beneficial plant compounds and beneficial microorganisms.
A: Stimulates soil biological activity, Improves soil structure, Enhances overall plant health and vigor, Suppresses disease, and Reduces fungicide and fertilizer requirements.
A: Landscaping ornamental beds, Vegetable gardens, Lawn, and Soil amendment
A: Erosion control, Remediation of contaminated sites, Reclamation of a site, and Revegetation of a site.
A: Information for composting can be found at the EPA Wastes - Resource Conservation - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Composting web site.
A: The term plasticulture is defined as the use of plastics in agriculture for both plant and animal production including; plastic mulch, drip irrigation, row covers, low tunnels, high tunnels, greenhouses, silage bags, hay bales and in food packaging and nursery pots and containers for growing transplants. Plasticulture can extend the growing season and improve crop health and growth.
A: Contact your local extension service (http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/index.html) which is in conjunction with your land grant universities.
A: Depending on the program(s) and/or practices established by your state, contact your local extension service (http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/index.html) for any established disposal and/or recycling programs. If they are unable to assist you contact your local waste management service.
The purpose of the Society is to improve the economic efficiency of agricultural systems through the use of plastics in various aspects of plant and animal production, manufacturing, packaging, and distribution; and through environmentally sound recovery and reuse.
This web page includes links to information on the use of plasticulture in the form of plastic mulch, degradable mulch, tunnels (low and high), hoophouses, greenhouses and agricultural plastic recycling as well as crops most often grown with plasticulture, and agriculture plastic recycling
The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance (TPSA) - Stewardship activities conducted by these organizations include formulating and/or distributing pesticides across dealer networks, educating farmers and other pesticide end-users to promote full life-cycle stewardship, collecting triple-rinsed pesticide containers for recycling, and collecting and disposing of unwanted chemicals by licensed hazardous waste haulers.
The Online Resource for Plastic Bag and Film Recycling -Identifying Your Recycling Options and Connect with a Recycler.