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.