Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations
Many in Eastern Idaho have a small herd of cows on pasture ground. However, special rules apply in Idaho to concentrated animal feeding operations, or “CAFOs.”
A CAFO is defined in Idaho as a lot or facility where beef cattle, or dairy cattle, are confined and fed for forty-five (45) or more days during any twelve month period in an area that doesn’t produce vegetation during a normal growing season over any portion of the facility. A feed lot or a dairy operation are examples of a CAFO.
A CAFO is required by law to to have wastewater and storage containtment facilities. These wastewater facilities trap manure and water from the feeding operation. They are required to be built according to engineering standards, and must prevent manure and wastewater from entering into lakes, streams, rivers and groundwater. They must be designed such that they are able to hold a twenty-four (24) hour rainfall event, or three inches of runnof from the accumulation of winter precipitation. No other materials or waste may be disposed of in a containment facility.
Also required is a nutrient manangment plan. Such a plan must address: (a) proper managment of dead animals, (b) ensure that clean water is diverted from the production area, (c) prevent direct contact of confined animals with rivers, streams and lakes, (d) ensure that chemicals on-site are handled properly, (e) identify appropriate conservation practices, (f) identify protocols for testing of water and soil, (g) identify protocols for applicaiton of manure and wastewater to land, and (h) identify records that will be kept to assure compliance with the nutrient managment plan.
The Director of the Department of Agricutlure is authorized to inspect animal feeding operations to insure compliance with the rules. The Director may file an administrative enforcement action and seek civil penalities for those who are not in compliance.
If you are confining and feeding animals, you may may be subject to the special rules for CAFOs.