Large Non-Farm Horse Operations Should Review New USDA-EPA Strategy On Water Pollution

On March 9, 1999, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released their “Unified National Strategy for Animal Feeding Operations.” The agencies have been working on this strategy since

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On March 9, 1999, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released their “Unified National Strategy for Animal Feeding Operations.” The agencies have been working on this strategy since President Clinton released the Clean Water Action Plan in February 1998. The strategy is an implementation and enforcement plan for existing Clean Water Act (CWA) regulations and does not introduce any new regulations on livestock or horse operations.


The main purpose of the strategy is to prevent water pollution from large animal feeding operations, such as cattle feed lots, hog confinement facilities, and large poultry operations. Nonetheless, the strategy could affect some large horse operations, such as racetracks, large show facilities, or similar collection points.


Under existing CWA rules, an Animal Feeding Operation includes any lot or facility where animals are stabled or confined for 45 days or more in any 12 month period and on which no crops, vegetation, or forage grow.


The new strategy will require large operations, perhaps 5% of the approximate 450,000 animal feeding operations nationwide, to obtain National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. This will require the development of a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan to address waste storage and water discharge. Generally, such a plan identifies actions or priorities that will be followed to meet clearly defined nutrient management goals. These larger operations are considered “concentrated animal feeding operations” or CAFOs

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