CSIF Tips of the Month: October 2013

10-01-2013 in Through The Gate

Rules and Regs Highlight

DNR to Inspect More Livestock Farms

Recently the EPA and Iowa DNR signed an agreement that established guidelines for evaluations of livestock and poultry farms. The work plan stems from a petition filed by environmental groups in 2007, claiming DNR does not comply with the Clean Water Act and that EPA should take over the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program. This agreement is an important step toward retaining authority to implement the federal program in Iowa.

The work plan obligates DNR to evaluate livestock farms larger than 300 animal units and document whether the farms are in compliance with the Clean Water Act. It is estimated that over 8,500 livestock farms will be evaluated in the next five years.

Farms larger than 1,000 animal units will receive an on-site inspection. Open feedlots smaller than 1,000 animal units will receive an on-site inspection if they are located within ¼ mile of a stream. All other medium-sized farms (300-999 animal units) will be evaluated with a desktop assessment and may receive a follow-up on-site inspection based on the information found. Farms that have had an inspection within the last two years will not receive another on-site inspection unless the previous documentation does not adequately show compliance with the Clean Water Act. Farms that have had a spill that reached a water of the U.S. within the past five years will also receive an on-site inspection to determine if the conditions have been corrected.

More information will be available in the coming weeks and months from the agriculture commodity groups and the Coalition.

If your farm falls within these parameters and you are concerned about an inspection, call CSIF at 800-932-2436. Staff members can come out to your farm, explain the environmental rules and regulations and help ensure your farm is in compliance. CSIF does not fine or enforce rules, but instead offers a second set of eyes and advice. All services are available at no cost to you and are completely confidential.

Siting Tip

Site Selection: Location, Location, Location

Choosing the location for a new livestock facility is one of the most important steps in growing successfully. There are several “written” rules and regulations (i.e. separation distances, required manure management plans, etc.) that need to be followed, but there are also “unwritten” guidelines that can help chose good sites.

Although location relative to acres for manure application is an important consideration, it is not the only one. There are many factors in selecting a site; however, some of the most important considerations, namely neighbor and community relations, are oftentimes overlooked until it is too late.

Threats of nuisancy lawsuits appear to be on the rise, all across the state. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when looking at possible sites:

  • Neighbors – how many and how close?
  • How close is the nearest community, subdivision, housing development or business?
  • How close are the nearest public-use areas, such as lakes, parks, campgrounds, schools, ball fields, churches, cemeteries, golf courses or other recreation areas?
  • What size of a building or feedlot are you planning to build?
  • Are there other livestock farms nearby?
  • Is there enough room to plant trees and shrubs for aesthetics and odor control?

It is very important to take into consideration topography and prevailing winds (breezes that tend to carry the most odor typically come from the south and southeast in Iowa).

To discuss potential sites, neighbor relations, or rules and regulations, call CSIF at 800-932-2436. All services are free and confidential.

Save the Date: Farming for the Future Conference Planned for Jan. 16

Growing the farm? Is livestock financially feasible today? How can I better mitigate risk on my farm? What are lenders looking for? What livestock is right for my farm? If you are asking those questions, then the annual Farming for the Future: Emerging Opportunities in Livestock Production conference is a must!

The Coalition to support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF) is sponsoring the event on Thursday, Jan. 16, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Ames at Iowa State’s Center’s Scheman Building. This year’s conference features strategies to mitigate risk on your farm, financial feasibility of raising livestock today and what lenders are looking for in potential borrowers. There will also be multiple breakout sessions with livestock farmers who will candidly share how and why they made the decision to raise livestock in Iowa.

Registration will open in November and there will be no cost to attend. For more information call 800-932-2436.

Quote of the Month

“I contacted the Coalition when I was thinking of putting up a swine site. One of my concerns was the neighbors around me and I thought maybe CSIF could help. The Coalition was knowledgeable about locations, what has worked in the past and what could happen. The major thing they helped me with was location and how to best place it. If you are thinking about building any type of operation, get a hold of them and have them send someone out. They are an extremely knowledgeable group.” –Karl Boender, Mahaska County pork producer

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