Crop farmers should make sure to ask about environmental permits at the state and county level when obtaining manure from an outside livestock facility, especially from an out-of-state facility, explains Erin Cortus, South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension Air Quality and Waste Management Specialist.
"There are a couple of different things that need to be considered when purchasing manure and hauling it across state lines. Is the facility you're buying the manure from considered a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO)? If this out-of-state facility is not considered a CAFO, then the general permit restrictions don't apply," Cortus says.
However, if the livestock facility is permitted, then the permitted livestock operation must include the partnering crop farmer's acreage in their nutrient management plans and have all needed documentation in place with the state to ensure the manure is being used properly. This includes a written agreement, she adds.
"If your land is included as part of another producer's nutrient management plan, the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources will need a written agreement from the land owner," Cortus explains. Similar steps need to be taken when manure is hauled from a permitted facility within South Dakota. This responsibility falls on the livestock producer.
Cortus also encourages farmers, before purchasing manure, to ask if the manure has been manipulated, so they understand what they will be receiving. Manipulated manure can be considered a soil amendment or fertilizer and different distribution and storage rules therefore apply. "Manipulating manure can include drying, cooking, grinding, adding other materials, pelletizing or composting, according to South Dakota Department of Agriculture," she says, and advises anyone dealing with livestock manure to handle and apply the nutrients in a responsible manner.