After four years of talks, Pennsylvania's Nutrient Management Act became effective last fall. It requires concentrated animal operations (CAO) to develop and implement an approved nutrient management plan. A CAO is an operation with more than 2,000 lb. of livestock or poultry per acre of land for manure application. CAO have one year to develop a plan and three years to implement the plan.
"It is a nitrogen-based, manure management plan," explains Ken Kephart, associate professor of animal science at Pennsylvania State University and extension swine specialist.
The state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) developed an interim policy for confined animal feeding operations (CAFO) in January. CAFOs are divided into two categories: 300-1,000 a.u. and >1,000 a.u.
Basically the two size groups must have a nutrient management plan, erosion and sediment control plan for each site with manure storage facilities. Those facilities must be permitted before construction and operation.
A long-term policy for CAFOs is being developed by a diverse working group, says Kephart, and will most likely place increased regulatory attention on large livestock operations in the state.
Regarding the hog economy, the breeding herd is stable and marketings have remained healthy over the years.
Sam Elkin, Marion Center, PA, producer and member of the National Pork Producers Council Federation Council, says the hog economy isn't so healthy now. Corn costs 50 cents more/bu. in Pennsylvania than in the Midwest, adding $5/head to the cost of production.