In the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic change in animal agricultural production in the United States. These changes have included an increase in the overall size of individual operations, an increase in the number of animals raised per operation and a shift toward raising poultry and certain livestock within production barns as a mechanism to increase production efficiencies. 

An operation is defined as an animal feeding operation (AFO) if the facility confines, stables or feeds animals for 45 days or more in a 12-month period and a ground cover of vegetation is not sustained over at least 50% of the confinement area. An operation is defined as a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) if it meets the definition of an animal feeding operation and also confines more than 1,000 animal units (1,000 animal units is equal to 2,500 swine, 100,000 broilers, 700 dairy cows or 1,000 beef steers).

An operation's "class size" is a category that is based upon the total number of animal units confined at an operation. The Class 1C,1B and 1A are categories that start at 1,000, 3,000 and 7,000 animal units respectively and are required by state regulation to obtain a permit.

Class II operations confine less than 1,000 animal units and by definition, are only an animal feeding operation. Class II operations are not required to have a permit, although many voluntarily obtain one anyway. The department can also 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. 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.

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.

Permitting

Missouri's 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. State regulations can be found at 10 CSR 20-6.300 and 8.300, while federal regulations are located in 40 CFR Parts 122 and 412Protecting 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 

At the state level, water quality is protected through the department’s permit application and approval process. Water pollution construction and operating permits are a requirement for all sizes and types of CAFOs. These permits typically have a list of very specific and stringent requirements to follow and operations are expected to keep detailed records of farm-related activities and submit them to the state agency for review each year. In addition, the department has developed stringent state technical standards that CAFOs must follow and relate to the handling and land application of anima manure.

Recent Changes

The Governor signed Senate Bill 391 into law on May 31, 2019, which 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.

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