Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation

What’s the Background?


EPA issued a final CAFO rule in early 2003, but opposition from pork producers and legal challenges from NPPC and from environmentalists prompted the agency to reconsider the regulation. The compliance costs to the agricultural industry for the initial rule were estimated to be $980 million a year; costs for the revised rule were estimated to be $335 million a year.

Why Does It Matter to Our Producers?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2008 finalized its regulations under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). The CAFO rule is the most comprehensive federal water-quality regulation ever put on pork producers.

Under the rule, many operations that never had to obtain federal NPDES permits now must have them and must develop and implement nutrient management plans that meet specific standards, keep detailed records of their compliance, and submit annual reports to their state or to EPA.

Pork producers participated in the ground-breaking National Environmental Dialogue on Pork Production that developed a comprehensive framework of proposed regulations for use by legislators and regulators. NPPC has taken an aggressive position to challenge in court the final CAFO rule on key issues critical to the pork sector. Perhaps just as importantly, by being part of the litigation, NPPC is in a better position to protect the final rule from being made more onerous or impractical and otherwise impose requirements that can’t be achieved without placing swine operations at significant economic risk. The outcome of NPPC’s legal efforts will not be known for some time. In the interim, NPPC will continue to work with EPA and others to support fair, sound, and practical implementation of the final CAFO rule, including support for the development and use of effective Nutrient Management Plans (NMPs) to guide the land application of manure.