After several years of litigation by state agricultural groups, the Missouri Air Conservation Commission has finally adopted an exemption to air permitting rules for livestock operations.

The new rule exempts all existing livestock operations and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) from air permitting requirements. Any new operations may be subject to best management practices (BMPs), depending on the size of the operation, says Don Nikodim, executive director, Missouri Pork Producers Association (MPPA).

Under the rule, large livestock operations whose potential emissions exceed permitting thresholds would be considered “permitted” if the operations comply with BMPs.

Filing the lawsuit was Friends of Agriculture for the Reform of Missouri Environmental Regulations, an unincorporated association of the state pork, dairy and cattlemen’s groups and the Mo-Ag Industries Council.