Calling it a “tough but fair rule” that sets a high environmental standard for livestock producers, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) praised the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's new regulation for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

“The CAFO regulation is a tough but fair rule and sets a standard that the U.S. pork industry has been and will continue to live up to,” responds NPPC Environment Committee Chairman Randy Spronk, a pork producer from Edgerton, MN. “Pork producers are ready to comply with the new regulation.”

The new CAFO rule culminates more than 10 years of work to overhaul the federal Clean Water Act that applies to livestock operations.

“Looking back to where we were in federal policy in 1998, when this all started, through the 2001 proposed rule, the 2003 final rule, a 2005 federal court decision and now this 2008 final rule, EPA is making sweeping policy changes that affect all aspects of pork operations and water quality,” Spronk says.

Prior to the 2003 rulemaking, most CAFOs were in effect not liable under the Clean Water Act for discharges from their operations — but now they are. Before 2003, the land application of manure for crop production was not regulated under federal law — and now it is.

The federal rule requires National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits only for CAFOs that discharge or propose to do so. The new rule effectively sets a “zero-discharge” standard for all livestock operations. Non-permitted operations are required to use sound management practices to avoid all discharges or face stiff penalties. Permit holders also must follow similar practices to meet the zero-discharge standard. Violations of the new CAFO rule carry penalties of up to $32,500/day.

“With or without a permit, swine operations that are not well managed and have discharges are facing severe penalties,” says Michael Formica, NPPC environmental policy counsel. “These rules really raise the water quality bar for us, but despite this challenge, producers are going to make this rule work.”

Calling it a “tough but fair rule” that sets a high environmental standard for livestock producers, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) praised the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's new regulation for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

“The CAFO regulation is a tough but fair rule and sets a standard that the U.S. pork industry has been and will continue to live up to,” responds NPPC Environment Committee Chairman Randy Spronk, a pork producer from Edgerton, MN. “Pork producers are ready to comply with the new regulation.”

The new CAFO rule culminates more than 10 years of work to overhaul the federal Clean Water Act that applies to livestock operations.

“Looking back to where we were in federal policy in 1998, when this all started, through the 2001 proposed rule, the 2003 final rule, a 2005 federal court decision and now this 2008 final rule, EPA is making sweeping policy changes that affect all aspects of pork operations and water quality,” Spronk says.

Prior to the 2003 rulemaking, most CAFOs were in effect not liable under the Clean Water Act for discharges from their operations — but now they are. Before 2003, the land application of manure for crop production was not regulated under federal law — and now it is.

The federal rule requires National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits only for CAFOs that discharge or propose to do so. The new rule effectively sets a “zero-discharge” standard for all livestock operations. Non-permitted operations are required to use sound management practices to avoid all discharges or face stiff penalties. Permit holders also must follow similar practices to meet the zero-discharge standard. Violations of the new CAFO rule carry penalties of up to $32,500/day.

“With or without a permit, swine operations that are not well managed and have discharges are facing severe penalties,” says Michael Formica, NPPC environmental policy counsel. “These rules really raise the water quality bar for us, but despite this challenge, producers are going to make this rule work.”