CSIF Tips of the Month – April 2014

04-17-2014 in Through The Gate

Iowa Agriculture Poised for Positive Growth

The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF) has received a record number of inquiries from livestock farmers in the past three months, indicating that expectations for agriculture’s future in Iowa are very positive. The questions range from farmers needing assistance in siting new hog or cattle buildings, help with enhancing neighbor relations, guidance in interpreting rules and regulations, as well as answers to their questions on planting trees around livestock buildings. There have also been numerous requests for CSIF staff to come out to the farm and assess open feedlots and dairies for environmental compliance.

Some farmers that call just want to talk through their options while others need a helping hand – from identifying an appropriate location for a new building or feedlot to ensuring they are following all state and federal rules on their farm. If you have questions pertaining to livestock or poultry production, rules and regulations, neighbor relations, planting trees on your farm or want to be sure your farm would pass a DNR or EPA inspection, please give us a call at 800-932-2436 or visit us on the web at www.supportfarmers.com.

Assistance is provided to farm families at no cost and is kept completely confidential.

Rules and Regs Highlight

Properly Disposing of Livestock Mortalities: An Overview of the Rules

Are there requirements for the disposal of livestock carcasses? The answer is yes. Under Iowa law, livestock and poultry owners are required to dispose of carcasses within a reasonable time after the animal’s death. Carcasses should never be left in a river, stream, lake, or pond, nor buried near any stream or tile drain.

Farmers have several options to dispose of carcasses, including rendering, composting, cooking, burning or burying.

(Update: an earlier version of this article stated carcasses must be disposed of within 24 hours. That is not correct. To clarify, Iowa law requires livestock carcasses be disposed of within a reasonable time after the animal’s death. If you choose to compost, carcasses must be incorporated within 24 hours of the animal’s death.)


Composting Rules

The Coalition is often asked questions specifically about composting and the rules that apply. In Iowa, the animals must have been part of the farm operation where they are being composted (in other words, farmers can’t compost animals from other farms on their property) and they must be incorporated within 24 hours of the animal’s death.

The compost must be on an all-weather surface, such as compacted soil, asphalt, concrete or another impermeable material, and must meet set-back requirements. Composts cannot be located within: 100 feet of a private well or 200 feet of a public well; 50 feet of a property line; 500 feet of a neighboring residence; 100 feet of a surface waterway; a floodplain, wetland or shoreline area.

Be sure to limit ponding, run-on and run-off from the compost pile. Minimize odor, dust, litter, noise, risk to public health, and general nuisance. Maintain 12-24 inches of the bulking agent as a base, 6-12 inches between animals, and 12 inches as a cover.

Don’t remove waste from the pile until all of the soft tissue has decomposed. Apply the compost material to cropland within 18 months and in a manner that prevents runoff. (Note: if you are selling the compost as soil condition or fertilizer, IDALS requires further registration.)

For more information on properly disposing of livestock mortalities, refer to this fact sheet.

Rules for Land Application of Manure

Iowa law requires that all manure be applied in a way that will not negatively impact water quality. Additionally, the law specifies several separation distances that must be followed when land applying manure. It varies based on the type of manure, manure source and application method.

All animal feeding operations have a handful of required separation distances for land application of manure. Liquid or dry manure that is NOT incorporated must be 200 feet (50 feet with a vegetative buffer) back from a sinkhole, cistern, designated wetland, water source, abandoned well or drinking water well; 200 feet back from an unplugged ag drainage well or an ag drainage well surface inlet; and 800 feet (50 feet with a vegetative buffer) back from a high quality water source.

Pay particular attention to the separation from high quality water sources. To find out what is considered a high quality water source in your county, refer to this list from DNR.

Liquid manure from confinements that is NOT incorporated within 24 hours must be 750 feet back from any residence, church, business, school or public use area.

In addition to these rules, be sure to review the requirements of your manure management or nutrient management plan before applying. For more information, refer to this DNR factsheet or give CSIF a call at 800-932-2436.

Quote of the Month

“I contacted the Coalition because putting up a new animal feeding operation is difficult. It’s daunting going out there on your own, so we reached out for guidance. The CSIF team was very prompt and courteous. They took the time to sit down with us and get an idea of what we were thinking about doing. They explained what we were going to have to go through to get our project up and running.” – Bob Donahoo, Pocahontas County farmer

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