Agriculture: Animal Production

Information about environmental aspects relating to the production of livestock and poultry.
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Clean Water Act's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)

Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs) are agricultural operations where animals are kept and raised in confined situations. AFOs generally congregate animals, feed, manure, dead animals, and production operations on a small land area. Feed is brought to the animals rather than the animals grazing or otherwise seeking feed in pastures. Animal waste and wastewater can enter water bodies from spills or breaks of waste storage structures (due to accidents or excessive rain), and non-agricultural application of manure to crop land.

An AFO is a lot or facility (other than an aquatic animal production facility) where the following conditions are met:
  • Animals have been, are, or will be stabled or confined and fed or maintained for a total of 45 days or more in any 12-month period, and
  • Crops, vegetation, forage growth, or post-harvest residues are not sustained in the normal growing season over any portion of the lot or facility.

AFOs that meet the regulatory definition of a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) may be regulated under the NPDES permitting program. The NPDES program regulates the discharge of pollutants from point sources to waters of the United States. CAFOs are point sources, as defined by the CWA [Section 502(14)]. To be considered a CAFO, a facility must first be defined as an AFO.

Animal Agriculture Education Project 

As part of EPA’s efforts to protect water quality through voluntary collaborations with the animal agriculture sector, EPA is announcing the launch of the Animal Agriculture Education Project. This will include a series of educational modules to increase understanding and knowledge among state and federal government agencies and the agricultural industry about water quality protection and animal feeding operations. The first module, Animal Agriculture, Manure Management, and Water Quality, will cover the following topics:

  • Animal Agriculture Trends
  • Manure Collection and Storage
  • Land Application of Manure Nutrients
  • Water Quality and Manure
  • Clean Water Act Requirements
  • Planning for Stewardship

The Animal Agriculture Education Project includes multimedia features such as videos and virtual tours of farms and discusses topics including advances in technologies and production systems, measures to protect water quality, and issues involved in on-farm decision-making about manure management. 

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Federal CAFO inspection information/biosecurity

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State animal feeding operation programs

EPA has authorized most states to implement the NPDES program on EPA’s behalf. Where states have been given this authority, they are the primary agency for permitting and inspections.

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Clean Air Act and animal feeding operations

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Pasture, rangeland, and grazing information

Information about environmental issues specifically relating to the livestock production in pastures, rangeland, and other grazing operations.,

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Related information from EPA

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Related information from USDA

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