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Frequently Asked Agriculture Questions in the Southeast

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.

Agriculture Policy and Agriculture Issues

Agriculture – Water Issues

Air Quality

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO)

CERCLA/EPCRA

Pesticides

Southeast Diesel Collaborative(SEDC)

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

Additional Plasticulture Information Links


Agriculture Policy and Agriculture Issues

Q:  How do I find out about the EPA’s role in agriculture?

A:  The EPA Agriculture web page (http://www.epa.gov/agriculture/faq.html) addresses general agriculture related questions.

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Q:  What local agencies, cooperatives and/or non-profit organizations are available to address farm, livestock, and/or row crops operations?

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.

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Q:  Where can I find information on compliance with environmental regulations?

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.

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Agriculture – Water Issues

Q:  Who do we need to get in touch with concerning a neighbor's cows which have uncontrolled access to a stream/creek?

A:  Contact the local Soil and Water Conservation District and the State Nonpoint Source Program concerning the problem.

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Q:  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?

A:  Contact the local Soil and Water Conservation District and the State Nonpoint Source Program concerning the problem.

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Air Quality

Q.  I have questions concerning air quality, where can I find assistance?

A:  US EPA Agriculture Air Topics provides basic information on air quality.

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Q:  What is the status of the Animal Feeding Operations Air Monitoring Study? 

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.

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Q:  What is CERCLA/EPCRA and how are livestock producers impacted by this rule? 

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:

  1. 700 mature dairy cows, whether milked or dry
  2. 1,000 veal calves
  3. 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
  4. 2,500 swine each weighing 55 pounds or more
  5. 10,000 swine each weighing less than 55 pounds
  6. 500 horses
  7. 10,000 sheep or lambs
  8. 55,000 turkeys
  9. 30,000 laying hens or broilers, if the farm uses a liquid manure handling system
  10. 125,000 chickens (other than laying hens), if the farm uses other than liquid manure handling system
  11. 82,000 laying hens, if the farm uses other than a liquid manure handling system
  12. 30,000 ducks (if the farm uses other than a liquid manure handling system)
  13. 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.

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Q:  Will I need to report emission of greenhouse gases from my farm?

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.

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Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO)

Q:  Where can I find information (i.e., guidance, enforcement, permitting) concerning concentrated animal feed operations?

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.

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CERCLA/EPCRA

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.

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Q:  Does the "CERCLA/EPCRA Administrative Reporting Exemption for Air Releases of Hazardous Substances from Animal Waste at Farms", exempt me from EPCRA 304 reporting?

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.

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Pesticides

Q:  I have a concern about a pesticide application which took place or will take place near my farm/home.  Who can I contact about this?

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.

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Q:  I want more information about regulations impacting my use of pesticides.  Who can I call or where can I go to get more information. 

A:  The National Agriculture Compliance Assistance Center has a page on pesticides which covers many topics related to pesticide use.

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Southeast Diesel Collaborative (SEDC)

Q:  What can I easily do on my farm to reduce diesel emissions?

A: There are many simple things that can be done to reduce diesel emissions on your farm.

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Q:  Is financial assistance available?

A:  There is money through the SE Diesel Collaborative every year to fund diesel emission reduction projects

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Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

Q:  What is composting?

A:  Composting is the controlled, biological stabilization of organics

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Q:  What is vermicomposting?

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.

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Q:  What are some common composting methods?

A:  Turned windrows, Passive aerated windrows, Aerated static piles, and In-vessel composting.

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Q:  What is compost tea?

A:  A liquid extract of compost containing soluble plant nutrients, beneficial plant compounds and beneficial microorganisms.

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Q:  What are the benefits of compost tea?

A:  Stimulates soil biological activity, Improves soil structure, Enhances overall plant health and vigor, Suppresses disease, and Reduces fungicide and fertilizer requirements.

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Q:  What are some consumer uses for compost?

A:  Landscaping ornamental beds, Vegetable gardens, Lawn, and Soil amendment

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Q:  What are some environmental uses for compost?

A:  Erosion control, Remediation of contaminated sites, Reclamation of a site, and Revegetation of a site.

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Q:  Where can I find information about composting?

A:  Information for composting can be found at the EPA Wastes - Resource Conservation - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Composting web site.

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Q:  What is agriculture plastic or plasticulture?

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.

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Q:  Where can I find more information in my state about the use and disposal of agriculture plastics or plasticulture?

A:  Contact your local extension service (http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/index.html) which is in conjunction with your land grant universities.

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Q:  How do I dispose of agriculture plastics?

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.

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Additional Plasticulture Information Links

American Society for Plasticulture

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.

Washington State University, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

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

Plasticulture in California Vegetable Production

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.

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For information about the contents of this page, please contact Denise Tennessee.


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