In the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic change in animal agricultural production, or livestock farming, in the United States. The overall size of individual operation has increased from smaller, family-owned farms to larger farm operations raising more animals per operation. There has also been a shift toward raising poultry and certain livestock within production barns as a way to increase production efficiencies. 

Cows in a field

An animal feeding operation (AFO) is a facility where animals are confined or stabled and fed for 45 days or more in a 12-month period and crops, forage or other vegetative ground cover is not sustained over at least 50% of the confinement area. A concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) is an AFO that confines more than 1,000 animal units. Animal units are based on the weight of the animal.

1,000 animal unit equals:

  • 1,000 beef cows
  • 700 dairy cows
  • 2,500 swine (pigs)
  • 100,000 chicken boilers

Designing CAFOs requires careful planning and considerations, including how to handle the amount and concentration of animal waste produced by the CAFO, as well as the associated odors and noise. The federal Clean Water Act identifies CAFOs as possible point sources for water pollution. New technologies and modern waste-management systems help properly manage animal waste by providing a safe, reliable fertilizer source for farming operations. Proper waste management protects the environment and ultimately makes a farm more productive. Protecting the environment and the agricultural industry is a shared responsibility and doing so may have a positive impact on the environment, our food supply and local and state economies. Learn more about Missouri's CAFO laws and regulations below.


CAFO laws and regulations are designed to minimize risks and are important for the long-term protection of the environment. Laws and regulations are also important to preserve and maintain a strong and profitable agricultural industry for generations to come. Missouri's regulations are outlined in Code of State Regulations, 10 CSR 20-6.300 and 10 CSR 20-8.300, while federal regulations are outlined in Code of Federal Regulations, 40 CFR Part 122 and 40 CFR Part 412. At the state level, water quality is protected through the department’s permit application and approval process.

Which operations need a permit?

Whether an operation is required to obtain a permit is determined by its "class size", which is based on the total number of animal units confined at the operation. Class IC (1,000 animal units), Class IB (3,000 animal units) and Class IA (7,000 animal units) are required by state regulation to obtain a wastewater permit. Class II operations (less than 1,000 animal units) are only an animal feeding operation, and therefore not required to have a permit, although many voluntarily obtain one anyway. The department can require a Class II operation to obtain a permit when an unauthorized discharge has occurred or when a discharge results in a violation of water quality standards.

What permits are required?

Wastewater construction and operating permits typically list very specific and stringent requirements to follow. CAFOs are expected to keep detailed records of farm-related activities and submit them to the department for review each year. In addition, the department developed stringent state technical standards related to the handling and land application of animal manure that CAFOs must follow. Master General Permits MO-G010000 and MO-GS10000 pertain to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. 

  • Master General Permit MO-G010000 - Process wastes are collected and reused as fertilizer by spreading onto agricultural fields at agricultural rates. There is no-discharge except during storms exceeding the design storm event.
  • Master General Permit MO-GS10000 - Process wastes are collected and managed as fertilizer by spreading onto agricultural fields at agricultural rates according to this permit.

Senate Bill 391, which was signed May 31, 2019, modified state provisions related to agricultural operations. Some of these changes affect regulated CAFOs.

  1. No construction on a new or expanded facility shall commence until the department has issued an operating permit to the owner or operator of such facility.
  2. Notification of the proposed new or expanded CAFO must be provided to all neighbors within three times the buffer distance (was previously one and one-half times). Notice must be provided to all neighbors within 9,000 feet of a Class 1A CAFO, within 6,000 feet of a Class 1B CAFO and within 3,000 feet of a Class 1C CAFO.
  3. All liquefied manure from a CAFO that is sold or given to a third party and is surface-applied must meet application setbacks established in the law.

Annual Reporting

The CAFO annual report form is due January 28 of each year. This form is now required to be submitted electronically through the Electronic Discharge Monitoring Reports (eDMR) system. The eDMR system is accessed through the department's Missouri Gateway for Environmental Management (MoGEM) online portal system. You must have a MoGEM account in order to access eDMR.

The department held two training sessions for CAFO owners and operators to cover the process of submitting annual reports electronically. Recordings of those trainings are provided below.

If you are unable to use eDMR, because you do not have internet access or for religious reasons, you will need to complete an Electronic Discharge Monitoring Report Waiver Request Form MO 780-2692 and submit it by mail to the department at the following address:

Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Water Protection Program
P.O. Box 176
Jefferson City, MO 65102


Publications and Fact Sheets


The Class II operations that appear on maps include only those that are currently permitted and do not represent the total statewide count of all Class II operations in Missouri. The department does not track nor have records of non-permitted Class II Operations.

  • Animal Feeding Operations Map
  • HUC-12 Maps - Click on the "Layer List" icon in the top right of the map tool bar (it looks like a stack of three papers). Scroll to the bottom of the list and select "12-digit Watershed Boundaries". Close the layer list and zoom to your area on the map. Click on the selected area to obtain the HUC-12 identification number.

Permitting Resources

Other Related Information