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56 JFAN Recommendations to Chapter 65 the DNR Ignored 

During three separate comment periods from June 2022 to September 2023, JFAN made a total of 64 recommendations to strengthen CAFO regulations in Chapter 65. Four small recommendations were incorporated, two were initially incorporated then rescinded. The industry and JFAN agreed on two logistical recommendations. 

Fifty-six recommendations were rejected. This is a list of those recommendations. 

1. Animal capacity should be documented with the submittal of delivery receipts following each livestock delivery to ensure 2499 hogs is really 2499 hogs. Double stocking is prohibited.

 

2. The definition of “Owner” includes a person who has an ownership interest in a partnership or corporation that has legal or equitable title to the property or AFO structures.

 

3. To confirm or disprove common ownership of adjacent CAFOs of all sizes (SAFOs and CAFOs) , an Operating Agreement developed during the formation of each partnership or LLC owning the adjacent CAFOs should be submitted.

 

4. Common management definition includes integrators.

 

5. The definition of “covered” excludes a naturally occurring crust on the surface of stored manure as liquid manure is always accruing on top of the crust. This is a common point taken on the Master Matrix.

 

6. Retain the detailed guidelines for manure management plans and adopt as a required practice.

 

7. If ownership of a CAFO changes, the new owner should publish a public notice in a newspaper having a general circulation in the county and the transfer should be published on the DNR’s website.

 

8. If ownership of a CAFO changes and common ownership exceeds 1000 animal units, the transferee shall complete the Master Matrix.

 

9. The definition of public use area includes recreational trails.

 

10. The number of soil borings for a CAFO constructed in karst should be increased from one to six borings.

 

11. No construction of any type of structure should be permitted within a 25-foot vertical separation distance between the bottom of a confinement pit and karst bedrock. The DNR first accepted a modified version of this recommendation, scaling it down to 5 feet. The DNR submitted this change to the governor’s office in September. It was removed after the governor’s office review, evidently a casualty of political pressure. The regulation reverted to the original language that doesn’t adequately protect karst from confinement pits.  

 

12. If there is between 5-15 feet vertical separation distance between the bottom of a confinement pit and karst, then (1) a minimum 5 feet continuous layer of low permeability soil or non-soluble bedrock or (2) a 2-foot thick compacted clay liner or geosynthetic clay liner must be constructed directly beneath the floor of the structure. The design of the formed structure must be prepared and sealed by a PE or an NRCS engineer. Again, the DNR had this in their September draft to the governor’s office, but also was removed after the governor’s office review. The old, insufficient karst regulations are now in place.

 

13. To make a karst terrain determination, the DNR should not just rely on the AFO Siting Atlas to identify karst, but shall incorporate site-specific investigations and regional knowledge of sinkholes that have occurred and are not identified on the AFO Siting Atlas.

 

14. If the site may be located in karst, a soils exploration study or statement from a qualified department staff that a soils exploration study is not needed shall be included.

 

15. The Department Evaluation Rule should remain in place. This provides the DNR director the ability to deny a CAFO based on site unsuitability. The DNR director should use it.

 

16. The corporation (integrator) that owns the hogs should be included on the Construction Design Statement in order to determine common management.

 

17. The definition of “non-substantial revisions” in a construction approval letter should be clearly spelled out and not subject to the CAFO developer’s definition.

18. Increase the amount of time that a county board of supervisors has to file an appeal for an approved CAFO permit with the Environmental Protection Commission from 14 to 30 days. The DNR did originally make this change, but then removed  and reverted back to the 14 days after receiving comments from producer interests.

 

19. A new construction permit should be required for confinement buildings  empty for 12 months that are being repopulated with over 1000 animal units. The DNR changed that to 24 months.

 

20. Further, all confinement pits should be inspected by a licensed professional engineer or a DNR engineer before repopulating the building.

 

21. Return removed language to the definition of alternative technology so that the credibility and effectiveness of the alternative technology is properly evaluated.

 

22. Expand the definition of “commercial enterprise” to include businesses that operate for part of the year, such as those at tourist destinations.

 

23. Slatted concrete floors should not be considered a “covered” surface in a confinement building as they are designed with numerous openings to pass waste products from livestock into the below ground pit.

 

24. “Educational institution” shall include buildings where homeschool students that are enrolled in homeschool programs served by local school districts go to study.

 

25. A person who has an interest in a confinement feeding operation and who is the subject of a pending civil enforcement action shall not acquire legal responsibility or an interest in any additional permitted confinement feeding operations for the period that the enforcement action is pending. Currently the regulation addresses only those classified as habitual violators.

 

26. Increase the amount of freeboard for a confinement pit from one foot to two feet. (Freeboard is the top of the confinement pit that should not be filled with manure in case of emergencies.)

 

27. A construction permit should be required for a confinement building that uses a confinement pit in conjunction with a small animal feeding operation (SAFO) if the total animal units is 1000 or more. (Currently it’s not required.)

 

28. The DNR should require a construction permit for buildings being modified after the completion of the last construction or modification if the confinement exceeds 1000 or more animal units. Currently there is a 120 day window where one would not be required.

 

29. Retain language on SAFOs that prohibits their construction on a one hundred year floodplain.

 

30. Retain the language on SAFOs that requires a floodplain determination permit for construction to begin.

 

31. A construction permit application should include the name of the corporation that owns the livestock (integrator).

 

32. If the site of a currently operating CAFO is later found to be in a designated wetland, an expansion should not be allowed to take place regardless if a construction permit application or manure management plan was previously submitted to the department.

 

33. The separation distance of a CAFO to a public use area should be taken from the public use area’s property line, not the facilities where people congregate and remain for a significant period of time.

 

34. If the separation distance to a CAFO is waived by a school or public land, its title holder should execute the waiver after a public notice is filed in a newspaper having general circulation in the county not less than 14 days before the waiver is filed.

 

35. A confinement feeding operation that meets the definition of a qualified operation shall only use an aerobic structure for manure storage and treatment but the definition should not apply to confinements that collect manure in a confinement pit.

 

Points 36-56 are regarding manure management plans (MMPs)

 

36. Delete the current waiver to provide a new Manure Management Plan if, when constructing a CAFO, there is no change in animal category for determining animal units nor an increase in manure volume. This recommendation again was first accepted then removed. The nitrogen and phosphorus levels of manure can change depending on feed, and this language doesn’t take that into account.

 

37. MMP updates that are electronically filed should also include changes in fields receiving manure.

 

38. MMP updates filed electronically should include all information in a paper update. Currently, an electronic update includes only some of the information in a paper update. It’s impossible to determine field changes.

 

39. Retain the removed language on applying manure to snow covered or frozen ground – already a bad practice – that protects water quality. Some of this language was removed.

 

40. Use consistent names for field designations listed on page 3 of the MMP with a recommendation to use FSA Field Number to cross reference fields in other MMPs. Right now they are a hodge podge difficult to track.

 

41. Each MMP should be completely analyzed by the DNR. Right now they are spot checked.

 

42. If a field in an MMP is in another MMP, the name of that CAFO should be identified.

 

43. All MMPs should be reported and fully uploaded into an MMP database enabling the DNR to flag fields in more than one MMP.

 

44. For fields in more than one MMP, the AFO owner should notify the DNR in writing when applying manure to avoid over application by another CAFO.

 

45. All fields should be plotted out using geospatial mapping including manure application rates to identify and eliminate overlapping manure applications in a given year.

 

46. Manure application location and rates should be reported to this database each time manure is spread, taking the concept of MMPs being “plans” into real time accountability.

 

47. The DNR should provide access to the MMP database to the general public.  

 

48. The geospatial mapping should be accessible to the general public through the AFO Siting Atlas.

 

49. Use Iowa State University’s maximum return to nitrogen rate for applying manure to avoid over application of manure.

 

50. To determine manure application rates for manure originating from an anaerobic lagoon or aerobic structure, the availability of the soil to hold water based on weather events and soil types should be determined using documented quantifiable measures recommended by certified hydrologists, not just a “good faith estimate.”

 

51. To confirm the correct water-to-manure ratio for applying manure using spray irrigation, samples of diluted manure should be sent to the State Hygienic Laboratory and documentation of the ratio of water to manure should be kept with all manure application records.

 

52. To complete accurate MMP calculations, the DNR should require only annual manure samples from the AFO’s confinement pit. For a new CAFO, the first year’s manure sample should be taken from a CAFO affiliated with the same corporation (integrator). An average of manure taken from CAFOs from the same corporation may be used if the samples were collected within the previous twelve months. Currently calculations can be obtained from a variety of sources that may not accurately reflect real nitrogen and phosphorus levels.

 

53. We found six places where “credible sources” is cited as a baseline of evaluation for various parts of the manure management plan. In each case we asked for “credible sources” to be defined. They weren’t.

 

54. When sheet and rill erosion is calculated for the phosphorus index, the soil type map unit used for the calculation shall be the most erosive soil map unit that is at least 10 percent of the total field area. In all manure management plans submitted to the department for approval, the dominant critical soil map unit consistent with NRCS conservation planning guidelines shall be used to calculate sheet and rill erosion for the phosphorus index.

 

55. Recent soil samples to accurately calculate Phosphorus Indexes should be submitted with original MMPs. Currently for original MMPs, a soil sample may be provided that was taken within the last four years.

 

56. If a manure sample is taken to determine nitrogen and phosphorus content, the sample should be taken according to ISU Extension and Outreach Publication “How to Sample Manure for Nutrient Analysis and the DNR should require documentation of the sampling protocol and provide a split sampled to verify N and P content.

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