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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 Industry Partnerships

EPA established an Animal Agriculture Discussion Group (AADG) to develop a shared understanding of how to implement the Clean Water Act. AADG keeps communication open and improves two-way understandings of viewpoints. AADG is an informal and iterative group of animal agriculture stakeholders including representatives from the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA), all sectors of the animal feeding industry and their associations, academia, and states. The group convenes via conference calls and face-to-face meetings twice per year. EPA and industry collaborate to conduct joint projects for water quality protection.

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Federal CAFO Inspection Information

  • CAFO Inspections - For livestock and poultry operation owners, what to expect from EPA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) inspections.

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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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Aquaculture

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Clean Air Act and Animal Feeding Operations

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Air Quality Conservation Practices

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CERCLA and EPCRA Reporting Requirements

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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

You may need a PDF reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.

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Related Information from USDA

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