United States
Department of
United States
Protection Agency
              Unified National
              Strategy for
              Animal Feeding
March 9,1999
(Reprinted August, 1999)


 Table of Contents
Acknowledgments	i
1.0 Introduction and Guiding Principles	1
    1.1 Introduction	1
    1.2 Guiding Principles	2

2.0 AFOS and Water Quality and Public Health Risks	4
    2.1 Characteristics of AFOs	4
    2.2 Water Quality and Public Health Risks	6

3.0 The National Goal and Performance Expectation for AFOS	7
    3.1 Defining the Goal and Performance Expectation	7
    3.2 Comprehensive Nutrient Management Planning	7
    3.3 Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan Components	8
    3.4 Technical Assistance for CNMPs	11
    3.5 Assuring the Quality of CNMPs ...r	11
4.0. Relationship of Voluntary and Regulatory Programs	12
    4.1 Voluntary Program for Most AFOs	12
    4.2 Regulatory Program for Some AFOs	15
    4.3 Coordination with State and Tribal Programs	18
    4.4 Land Application of Manure	;	20
    4.5 Priorities for the Regulatory Program	20
    4.6 CAFO CNMPs	22
    4.7 Incentives for Implementing CNMPs	23
5.0	24

    Overview of Strategic Issues	24
    Strategic Issue #1: Building Capacity for CNMP Development
    and Implementation	24
    Strategic Issue #2: Accelerating Voluntary, Incentive-based Programs ... 26
    Strategic Issue #3: Implementing and Improving the Existing
    Regulatory Program	„	31
    Strategic Issue #4: Coordinated Research, Technical Innovation,
    Compliance Assistance, and Technology Transfer	41
    Strategic Issue #5: Encouraging Industry Leadership	44
    Strategic Issue #6: Data Coordination	46
    Strategic Issue #7: Performance Measures and Accountability	48
6.0 Roles	50
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy


                      A cknowledgments
"Through this
 approach, we can
 help strengthen
 the farm economy
 while ensuring
 across the
 country cleaner,
 safer water."

Vice President Gore,
March 9,1999
The development of the Unified National Strategy for Animal Feeding
Operations is the result of a tremendous amount of thought and effort on the
parts of many people. Those that deserve the greatest acknowledgment are
those individuals and organizations that spent countless hours in the
preparation of well-thought-out and articulated comment letters and
statements at the listening sessions. These people from all 50 States provided
the polish for a rough draft.

The efforts of all the people who were involved in the drafting of the
document also need to be acknowledged. These include USDA and EPA
personnel at the national, regional, and State levels, other Federal Agency
personnel at the national level, State agency personnel, and the leaders of
organizations and groups with a  keen interest in this subject.

The leadership of USDA and EPA must also be recognized for their vision and
support to this joint effort.

There are also two individuals, although they are no longer part of the Federal
family, that need to be acknowledged for their vision at the very beginning of
this process: they are Fee Busby and Craig Cox. Fee is currently the Dean of
the College of Natural Resources at Utah State University and Craig is the
Executive Vice President of the Soil and Water Conservation Society.

                   The AFO Team

                   Joe DelVecchio, USDA, Co-Leader
                   Jeff Lape, EPA, Co-Leader
                   Kevin Brown, USDA
                   Will Hall,  EPA

                   March 9,1999
                      USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy


1.1 Introduction
                     1.0 Introduction and
                     Guiding Principles
Over the past quarter century, the United States has made tremendous progress
in cleaning up its rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.  In 1972, the Potomac
River was too dirty to swim in, Lake Erie was dying, and the Cuyahoga River
was so polluted it burst into flames. Many rivers and beaches were little more
than open sewers. Today, water quality has improved dramatically and many
rivers, lakes, and coasts are thriving centers of healthy communities.

The improvement in the health of the Nation's waters is a direct result of a
concerted effort to enhance stewardship of natural resources and to implement
the environmental provisions of Federal, State, Tribal and local laws. Pollu-
tion control and conservation programs have stopped billions of pounds of
pollution from fouling the Nation's water, doubling the number of waters safe
for fishing and swimming.

Despite tremendous progress, 40 percent of the Nation's waterways assessed
by States still do not meet goals for fishing, swimming, or both.  Pollution
from factories and sewage treatment plants has been dramatically reduced, but
runoff from city streets, agricultural activities, including animal feeding
operations (AFOs), and other sources continues to degrade the environment
and puts drinking water at risk.

A strong livestock industry (of which AFOs are a part) is essential to the
Nation's economic stability, the viability of many rural communities, and the
sustainability of a healthful and high-quality food supply for the American
public.1 USD A and EPA recognize that farmers and ranchers are primary
stewards of many of our Nation's natural resources, have played a key role in
past efforts to improve water quality, and will be important partners in imple-
menting improved measures to protect the environment and public health.

In February 1998, President Clinton released the Clean Water Action Plan
(CWAP), which provides a blueprint for restoring and protecting water quality
across the Nation. The CWAP describes ill specific actions to expand and
strengthen existing efforts to protect water quality, such as improving sewage
treatment, controlling industrial waste, and protecting recreational waters.  It
also identifies polluted runoff as the most important remaining source of water
pollution and provides for a coordinated effort to reduce polluted runoff from
a variety of sources, including urban storm water, subsurface sewage disposal,
and air deposition. As part of this effort, the CWAP calls for the development
of this USDA-EPA unified national strategy to minimize the water quality and
public health impacts of AFOs.                                 £?
                     1 The livestock industry accounts for half of all sales in U.S. agriculture tpl'aylspurce: USt>A,
                      Economic Research Service. "Key statistical indicators of the food and       "   """
                      Agricultural Outlook. March, 1998:32).      '               ~°
                     USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

                        This Unified National Strategy for Animal Feeding Operations presents
                        USDA and EPA's plan for addressing the water quality and public health
                        impacts associated with AFOs. USDA and EPA issued a draft of this Strategy
                        on September 16,1998, and requested public comment during a 120-day
                        period. In addition, 11 national "listening sessions" were held throughout the
                        United States to discuss the draft Strategy and hear public feedback. The final
                        Strategy reflects written comments received as well as issues raised during the
                        listening sessions. USDA and EPA appreciate the public feedback on the draft
                        Strategy and will continue to seek public involvement in implementing the
                        activities described in the final Strategy.

                        This Strategy is not a new regulation nor is it a substitute for existing Federal
                        regulations and it does not impose any binding requirements on USDA, EPA,
                        the States, Tribes, localities, or the regulated community.  USDA and EPA's
                        policies for addressing AFOs may evolve and change as their understanding of
                        the issues increases through further work and receipt of additional information.
1.2  Guiding
This USDA-EPA Unified National Strategy for Animal Feeding Operations
reflects several guiding principles:

(1) Minimize water quality and public health impacts from AFOs.

(2) Focus on AFOs that represent the greatest risks to the environment and
    public health.
(3) Ensure that measures to protect the environment and public health    '
    complement the long-term sustainability of livestock production in the
    United States.                                                   ',

(4) Establish a national goal and environmental performance expectation for
    all AFOs.                                                       ;

(5) Promote, support, and provide incentives for the use of sustainable
    agricultural  practices and systems.

(6) Build on the strengths of USDA, EPA, State and Tribal agencies, and
    other partners and make appropriate use of diverse tools including
    voluntary, regulatory, and incentive-based approaches.
                        USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

(7) Foster public confidence that AFOs are meeting their performance
    expectations and that USDA, EPA, local governments, States, and
    Tribes are ensuring the protection of water quality and public health.

(8) Coordinate activities among the USDA, EPA, and related State and
    Tribal agencies and other organizations that influence the
    management and operation of AFOs.

(9) Focus technical and financial assistance to support AFOs in meeting
    the national goal and performance expectation established in this
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

2.0AFOs and  Water Quality
and Public Health Risks
2,1 Characteristics
 I,!1!,,* „
For purposes of this Strategy, AFOs are agricultural enterprises where animals
are kept and raised in confined situations. AFOs congregate animals, feed,
manure and urine, dead animals, and production operations on a small land
area.  Feed is brought to the animals rather than the animals grazing or other-
wise seeking feed in pastures, fields, or on rangeland.  Winter feeding of
animals on pasture or rangeland is not normally considered an AFO.       !

Approximately 450,000 agricultural operations nationwide confine animals.2
USDA data indicate that the vast majority of farms with livestock are small.
About 85% of these farms have fewer than 250 animal units (AUs).3 This
data comes from an analysis of the 1992 Agricultural Census. An AU is equal
to roughly one beef cow, therefore  1,000 AUs is equal to 1,000 beef cows or
equivalent number of other animals.4  Of these, in 1992 about 6,600 had more
than 1,000 AUs and are considered to be large operations.5 Section 4.2 dis-
cusses the regulatory definition of an animal feeding operation as well as the
conversions for the different animal species.                            \

As a result of domestic and export market forces, technological changes, anii
industry adaptations, the past several  decades have seen substantial changes in
America's animal production industries. Despite USDA support for sustain-
able agricultural practices, these factors have promoted expansion of confined
production units, with growth in both existing areas and new areas; integration
and concentration of some industries; geographic separation of animal produc-
tion and feed production operations; and the concentration of large quantities
of manure and wastewater on farms and in some watersheds.

In terms of production, the total number of animal units (AUs) in the United
States increased by about 4.5 million (approximately 3 percent) between 1987
and 1992.  During this same period, however, the number of AFOs decreased,
indicating a consolidation within the industry overall and greater production
from fewer, larger AFOs.6
2 General Acccounting Office. Animal Agriculture: Information on Waste Management and Water
  Quality Issues, June 1995
3 USDA-ERS. 1992 Farm Costs and Returns Survey.             .               ;
4 USDA and EPA currently use slightly different definitions for an animal unit, largely for the pork
  and poultry animal types.                                               I
5 The 1997 Argicultural Census data on the number and size of agricultural operations nationwide
  that confine animals was not available at the time of publication.   !
6 General Acccounting Off ice. Animal Agriculture: Information on Waste Management and Water
  Quality Issues, June 1995	

USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

 Number of Operations


                        Cattle    Dairy     Hog     Layer    Broiler    Turkey

                                      Animal Feeding Operations

Figure 1:     Industry Consolidation of Cattle, Dairy, Hog, Layer Broiler and Turkey
             Animal Feeding Operations7
Table 1.      Increase in the Average Number of Animal Units per Operation (1978-1992)8
7'8 General Acccounting Office. Animal Agriculture: Information on Waste Management^ and ,
  Water Quality Issues, June 1995	     :           .._.   T

USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

2.2 Water Quality
   Land Public
      fealth Risks
Despite significant progress in reducing water pollution, serious water quality
problems persist throughout the country and are caused by a range of different
sources. The CWAP, along with other Federal, State and Tribal water quality
assessments, details the sources and magnitude of these water quality prob-
lems. Agriculture, municipal point sources, urban runoff, industrial point
sources and hydromodification are listed as the leading sources of the remain-
ing problems.  Although it is difficult to determine the exact contribution of
any particular source on a national basis, it is widely recognized that AFOs
can pose a number of risks to water quality and public health, mainly because
of the amount of animal manure and wastewater they generate.9           >

Manure and wastewater from AFOs have the potential to contribute pollutants
such as nutrients (e.g., nitrogen, phosphorus), organic matter, sediments,
pathogens, heavy metals, hormones, antibiotics, and ammonia to the environ-
ment.  Excess nutrients in water can result in or contribute to eutrophication,
anoxia (i.e., low levels of dissolved oxygen), toxic algal blooms which may be
harmful to human health and, in combination with other circumstances, have
been associated with outbreaks of microbes such as Pfiesteria piscicida.
Decomposing organic matter can reduce oxygen levels and cause fish kills.

Pathogens, such as Cryptosporidium, have been linked to impairments in  ;
drinking water supplies and threats to human health.  Pathogens in manure can
also create a food safety concern if manure is applied directly to crops at
inappropriate times.  In addition, pathogens are responsible for some shellfish
bed closures.  Nitrogen, in the form of nitrate, can contaminate drinking water
supplies drawn from ground water.                                      \

USDA and EPA recognize that there are other potential environmental impacts
associated with AFOs. For example, improperly managed or sited AFOs may
produce odors that nearby residents find objectionable. Odor concerns cannot
be resolved in this national strategy, but may be minimized through local
mechanisms, such as zoning. While this Strategy focuses on addressing
surface and ground water quality problems, other environmental impacts such
as ground water depletion, habitat loss, and dust will receive indirect benefit
from implementation of this Strategy.
                         9 EPA, 1998, National Water Quality Inventory -1996 Report to Congress; Hunt, P.O., et al.
                          1995. Impact of animal waste on water quality in an eastern coastal plain watershed.  ;
                          IN: Animal Waste and the Land-Water Interface. Kenneth Steele, Ed., Lewis Publishers,;
                          Boca Raton, FL, 589 pp.; Ackerman and Taylor, 1995, Stream impacts due to Feedlot
                          Runoff. IN: Animal Waste and the Land-Water Interface: South Dakota Association of
                          Conservation Districts, SD Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and USDA
                          Natural Resources Conservation Service, 1996, Final Report -Animal Waste Management
                          Team; EPA Office of the Inspector General, March 1997, Animal Waste Disposal Issues,.
                          Audit Report No. E1XWF7-13-0085-7100142.	

                         USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

                      3.0  The National Goal and
                      Performance Expectation for AFOs
3.1 Defining the
    Goal and
USDAand EPA's goal is for AFO owners and operators to take actions to
minimize water pollution from confinement facilities and land application of
manure. To accomplish this goal, this Strategy is based on a national perfor-
mance expectation that all AFOs should develop and implement technically
sound, economically feasible, and site-specific Comprehensive Nutrient
Management Plans (CNMPs) to minimize impacts on water quality and public
3.2 Comprehensive
In general terms, a CNMP identifies actions or priorities that will be followed
to meet clearly defined nutrient management goals at an agricultural opera-
tion. Defining nutrient management goals and identifying measures and
schedules for attaining the goals is critical to reducing threats to water quality
and public health from AFOs.  The CNMP should fit within the total resource
management objectives of the entire farm.

CNMPs should address, as necessary, feed management, manure handling and
storage, land application of manure, land management, record keeping, and
other utilization options. While nutrients !are often the major pollutants of
concern, the plan should address risks from other pollutants, such as patho-
gens, to minimize water quality and public health impacts from AFOs.

In addition to protecting water quality and public health, CNMPs should be
site-specific and be developed and implemented to address the goals and
needs of the individual owner/operator, as well as the conditions on the farm
(e.g., number of animals, soils, crops, climate). For example, CNMPs devel-
oped for facilities in humid areas may include practices  that are different from
those developed for facilities in arid climates. CNMPs should include a
schedule to implement the management practices identified. Plans should also
be periodically reviewed and revised in cases where a facility increases in
size, changes its method of manure management, or if other operating condi-
tions change. CNMPs should encourage and facilitate technical innovation,
sustainable agricultural systems, and new approaches to manure and nutrient
management. The AFO owner or operator is ultimately responsible for the
development and implementation of CNMPs regardless  of who provides
technical assistance.
                      While many other technical references may be used as supplements, the
                      Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Field Office Technical
                      Guide (FOTG) is the primary technical reference for the development of
                      CNMPs for AFOs.  It contains technical information about utilization and
                      conservation of soil, water, air, plant, and animal resources. TheXQX© S
                      in an individual field office is localized to consider particular
                      USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

                   for the geographic area for which it is prepared. The FOTG is divided into
                   five sections:                                                        ;

                     Section I General Resource References - References, maps, price bases,
                     typical crop budgets, and other information for use in understanding the
                     field office working area or in making decisions about resource use and
                     resource management.

                     Section II Soil and Site Information - Soils are described and interpreted
                     to help make decisions about land use and management.  In most cases, this
                     will be an electronic database.

                     Section III Conservation Management Systems (CMS) - Guidance for
                     developing conservation management systems. A description of the re-  :
                     source considerations and their acceptable levels of quality or criteria.

                     Section IV  Practice Standards, Specifications and Supplements - Con-
                     tains standards and specifications for conservation practices used in the field
                     office. The standards contained in the National Handbook of Conservation
                     Practices (NHCP) may be supplemented to reflect local conditions.  The
                     NHCP contains  standards and specifications for over 150 conservation  :
                     practices, many of which are applicable to CNMPs for AFOs. These stan-
                     dards  are based on sound science and over 65 years of NRCS experience.
                     New standards can be added to this handbook using a procedure outlined in
                     the handbook that includes a public review/input process. Practice standards
                     establish the minimum level of acceptable quality for planning,  installing,
                     operating, and maintaining conservation practices.                     !

                     Section V Conservation Effects - Contains Conservation Practice Physical
                     Effects matrices which outline the impact of practices on various aspects of
                     the five major resources - soil, air, water, plants, and animals.
33 Comprehensive    USDA and EPA agree that the following components should be included in a
    Nutrient           CNMP, as necessary. The specific practices used to implement each compo-
    , ,          ,       nent may vary to reflect site-specific conditions or needs of the watershed.
    Management             J   J              r
                         peed Management - Animal diets and feed may be modified to reduce the
                         amounts of nutrients in manure.  Feed management can include the use of
                         low-phosphorus corn and enzymes such as phytase, that can be added to ;
                         non-ruminant animal diets to increase the utilization of phosphorus. Re-
                         duced inputs and greater utilization of phosphorus by the animal reduces the
Flan Components
                   USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

  amount of phosphorus excreted and produces a manure with a nitrogen-
  phosphorus ratio closer to that required by crop and forage plants.10

  Manure Handling and Storage - Manure needs to be handled and stored
  properly to prevent water pollution from AFOs.  Manure and wastewater
  handling and storage practices should also consider odor and other environ-
  mental and public health problems.  Handling and storage considerations
  should include:                      :

      Divert clean water - Siting and management practices should divert
      clean water from contact with feed lots and holding pens, animal
      manure, or manure storage systems'.  Clean water can include rainfall
      falling on roofs of facilities, runoff from adjacent lands, or other sources.

      Prevent leakage - Construction and maintenance of buildings, collection
      systems, conveyance systems, and permanent and temporary storage
      facilities should prevent leakage of ;organic matter, nutrients, and patho-
      gens to ground or surface water.

      Provide adequate storage - Liquid manure storage systems should safely
      store the quantity and contents of animal manure and wastewater
      produced, contaminated runoff from the facility, and rainfall. Dry
      manure, such as that produced in certain poultry and beef operations,
      should be stored in production buildings or storage facilities, or other-
      wise stored in such a way so as to prevent polluted runoff.  Location of
      manure storage systems should consider proximity to water bodies,
      floodplains, and other environmentally sensitive areas.

     Manure treatments - Manure should be handled and treated to reduce the
      loss of nutrients to the atmosphere during storage,  to make the material a
      more stable fertilizer when land-applied or to reduce pathogens, vector
      attraction and odors,  as appropriate.1

     Management of dead animals - Dead animals should be disposed of in a
     way that does not adversely affect ground or surface water or create
     public health concerns. Composting, rendering, and other practices are
     common methods used to dispose of dead animals.
10While feed management can be an important tool for achieving a preferred balance of
 nutrient in manure, USDA and EPA do not intend to propose prescribmg^feed rTractices
 Feed management is not a conservation practice'in the NRCS FOTG  ~  ~^ ~*~*&S!essaesaa*S[

USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

                               Land Application of Manure - Land application is the most common, and
                               usually most desirable method of utilizing manure because of the value of
                               the nutrients and organic matter. Land application should be planned to
                               ensure that the proper amounts of all nutrients are applied in a way that does
                               not cause harm to the environment or to public health. Land application in
                               accordance with the CNMP should minimize water quality and public health
                               risk. Considerations for appropriate land application should include:

                                  Nutrient balance - The primary purpose of nutrient management is to
                                  achieve the level of nutrients (e.g., nitrogen and phosphorus) required to
                                  grow the planned crop by balancing the nutrients that are already in the
                                  soil and from other sources with those that will be applied in manure,
                                  biosolids and commercial fertilizer. At a minimum, nutrient manage-
                                  ment should prevent the application of nutrients at rates that will exceed
                                  the capacity of the soil and planned crops to assimilate nutrients and
                                  prevent pollution.  Soils and manure should be tested to determine    ;
                                  nutrient content.

                                  Timing and methods of application - Care must be taken when land-
                                  applying manure to prevent it from entering streams, other water bodies,
                                  or  environmentally sensitive areas. The timing and methods of applica-
                                  tion should minimize the loss of nutrients to ground or surface water and
                                  the loss of nitrogen to the atmosphere. Manure application equipment
                                  should be calibrated to ensure that the quantity of material being applied
                                  is what is planned.

                               Land  Management - Tillage, crop residue management, grazing manage-
                               ment,  and other conservation practices should be utilized; to minimize
                               movement to surface and ground water of soil, organic materials, nutrients,
                               and pathogens from lands where manure is applied. Forest riparian buffers,
                               filter strips, field borders, contour buffer strips, and other conservation
                               buffer practices should be installed to intercept, store and utilize nutrients or
                               other pollutants that may migrate from fields on which manure is applied.;

                               Record Keeping - AFO operators should keep records that indicate the   !
                               quantity of manure produced and how the manure was utilized, including
                               where, when,  and amount of nutrients applied. Soil and manure testing
                               should be incorporated into the record keeping system. Records should be
                               kept when manure leaves the AFO.
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

                         Other Utilization Options - Where the potential for environmentally sound
                         land application is limited, alternative uses of manure, such as the sale of
                         manure to other farmers, composting and sale of compost to home owners,
                         and using manure for power generation may also be appropriate. All ma-
                         nure utilization options should be designed and implemented to reduce the
                         risk to all environmental resources and must comply with Federal, State,
                         Tribal and local law.
3.4 Technical
AFO owners and operators may seek technical assistance for the development
of CNMPs from qualified specialists, including staff from Federal agencies
such as the NRCS, State, and Tribal agricultural and conservation agency
staff, Cooperative Extension Service agents and specialists, Soil and Water
Conservation Districts (SWCDs), Land-Grant Colleges and Universities
(LGCU), integrators, industry associations, other AFO operators, and private
consultants.  Qualified specialists will also be needed to assist in implementa-
tion and to provide ongoing assistance through periodic reviews and revisions
of CNMPs, as appropriate.

The successful implementation of this Strategy depends on the availability
of qualified specialists from the private and public sectors to assist in the
development and implementation of CNMPs. Measures to expand technical
assistance resources are discussed more thoroughly in Section 5.0, Strategic
Issue #1.
3.5 Assuring the
    Quality of
USDAand EPA recognize that a range of expertise may be needed to develop
and implement site-specific CNMPs. A quality CNMP will help assure that
the national goal of this strategy is met. USDA and EPA recommend that
certified  specialists be used to develop CNMPs. Although such a certified
specialist may be used, AFO owners and operators are solely responsible for
implementing their CNMPs. USDA and EPA also encourage AFO owners and
operators to become certified specialists to ensure the quality of their CNMPs.
USDA and EPA support the efforts of States and nonprofit groups (e.g., the
Certified Crop Advisor Program of the American Society of Agronomy) to
develop appropriate certification programs.
                       USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

      4.1 Voluntary
          Program for
          Most AFOs
                            4.0 Relationship  of Voluntary
                            and Regulatory Programs
                            Voluntary and regulatory programs serve complementary roles in providing
                            AFO owners and operators and the animal agricultural industry with the
                            assistance and certainty they need to achieve individual business and personal
                            goals, and in ensuring protection of water quality and public health.  The
                            regulatory program focuses permitting and enforcement priorities on high-risk
                            operations, a small percentage of all AFOs (see figure 2).  For most AFOs,
                            however, a variety of voluntary programs provide the technical and financial
                            assistance to help producers meet technical standards and remain economi-
                            cally viable.
                                                Voluntary       :

                                                AFOs Expected To
                                                Be Regulated Under
                                                Existing CAFO
Figure 2:  Estimated National Percentage of Animal Feeding Operations Explected To Be
             Regulated Under the Existing CAFO Regulations                ;

Voluntary programs provide an enormous opportunity to help AFO owners
and operators and communities address water quality and public health con-
cerns surrounding AFOs. For the vast majority of AFOs, Voluntary efforts
will be the principal approach to assist  owners and operators in developing
and implementing site-specific CNMPs, and in reducing water pollution and
public health risks associated with AFOs. While CNMPs are not required for
AFOs participating only in voluntary programs, they are strongly encouraged
as the best possible means of managing potential water quality and public
health impacts from these operations.                                 ;

States should support development of voluntary CNMPs to the extent that this
effort is  consistent with other clean water program implementation priorities.
For those CNMPs that are developed as part of a State, Tribal, or Federal
voluntary technical or financial assistance program, the responsible State or
Tribal agency (e.g., Department of Agriculture, Water Quality Agency, or
Conservation Agencies) will approve the plan to ensure that it is sufficient to
meet requirements for participation in such programs. This process may  ;
include consultation with the local SWCD.  AFO owners and operators will be
full partners in the development and implementation of CNMPs through
voluntary programs.
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

The voluntary approach is built on the ethic of land stewardship and
sustainability. A sustainable society requires a sustainable environment: one
depends on the other.  For generations, most producers have maintained
agricultural productivity in harmony with a healthy land—the essence of land
stewardship and sustainable agriculture.  Today, agricultural producers still
have the responsibility to be good stewards of the land under their care. The
voluntary development and implementation of CNMPs provide AFO operators
with a way to embrace agricultural sustainability and this stewardship ethic.
USDA and EPA are proposing in this Strategy incentives to further the volun-
tary development and implementation  of ;CNMPs.

Implementing voluntary programs requires the support of local leadership and
full participation in planning and implementing conservation activities. Part-
nerships with Federal and State agencies, agricultural groups, SWCDs, Re-
source Conservation and Development (RC&D) Councils, Cooperative Exten-
sion Boards, private landowners; and between local leadership and science-
based technical assistance are essential to success.  Locally led conservation
efforts, environmental education programs, and financial and technical assis-
tance all help to build the land stewardship ethic that is fundamental to the
success of a voluntary approach.

Locally Led  Conservation - It is hard to overstate the importance of effec-
tive, locally led actions through the SWCDs in achieving national natural
resource quality goals. This is particularly true for AFOs.  USDA and EPA
have a commitment to locally led conservation as one of the most effective
ways to help individual landowners and communities achieve their conserva-
tion goals. Informed citizens are fundamental to making informed choices.
Thus, locally led conservation is a logical complement to an investment in
environmental education.  Partnerships with grassroots organizations such as
SWCDs, RC&D Councils, Cooperative Extension Service, and others that
promote the use of CNMPs can help attaiii the goal of this Strategy. Through
the locally led approach, individuals can see how their actions fit with those of
their neighbors.

Locally led conservation begins with public outreach sponsored by local
SWCDs to involve all agencies, organizations, businesses, and individuals in _ _ ^
the community that have an interest in  natural resources conservation. Tha _
process intentionally reaches out to thoseiwith diverse opinions and involves a  '
wide spectrum of ideas in assessing conservation needs to meet local con-  _,
cerns, establishing local priorities, identifying resources, developing and    J~~
implementing a conservation plan, and reviewing and evaluating needsfand
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

Environmental Education - One of the best ways to help AFO operators or
owners to participate in voluntary programs to reduce the potential impact of
their operations on the environment is through education and outreach. There
may be many well-managed AFOs, carefully following best management
practices developed in the past, that are unintentionally contributing to water
quality or other environmental degradation because of lack of access to the
newest information. The agricultural research system continues to advance our
understanding of the potential impacts of animal agriculture on the environ-
ment. Producers are experimenting with new systems, which include sustain-
able and alternative systems, adapting practices to their particular farm and
management strategies. USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS),    I
Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), :
EPA, SWCDs, State and local governments; Land-Grant Colleges and Univer-
sities and other institutions of higher learning, and the private sector are all
actively involved in communicating knowledge gained through the agricul-,
tural research system to AFO owners and operators. A partnership with the
AFO owners and operators and the organizations that represent them is essen-
tial in the collection and dissemination of research results in this educational

Through an aggressive environmental education and outreach effort, USDA
and EPA believe that awareness of possible problems can be heightened and
producers will be able to identify practices that may be contributing to water
quality problems. Once producers have an understanding of potential prob-
lems and solutions, they can take a proactive role in developing their CNMP
through the voluntary program.                                        '

Technical and Financial Assistance Programs - There are numerous sources
of technical and financial assistance, such as USDA, EPA, SWCDs, RC&D
Councils, State agencies, Land-Grant  Colleges and  Universities, and the
private sector, to assist AFO owners and operators in developing and imple-
menting CNMPs. Through technical assistance, owners arid operators can
receive help in developing CNMPs and implementing solutions. Financial ,
cost-share and loan programs can help defray the costs of approved/needed :
structures (e.g., waste  storage facilities for small operations) or to implement
other practices, such as installation of conservation buffers or rotational
grazing systems to protect water quality. An increasing number of States have
financial assistance programs that supplement or enhance Federal assistance.
Most financial assistance programs require the recipients to agree to imple-
ment particular practices as a condition of receiving funding.
Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA), NRCS's base conservation pro-
gram, is a potential tool in helping landowners develop CNMPs. The Conser-
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

                        vation Reserve Program (CRP), Conservation Reserve Enhancement
                        Program (CREP), and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
                        are assisting AFOs across the Nation in nutrient management. The Small
                        Watershed Protection Program (PL 83-566) provides comprehensive
                        resource management planning on a watershed basis to assist local land
                        users in addressing water quality concerns, including those related to
                        AFOs. RC&Ds assist States and local units of government in planning,
                        developing, and implementing programs for resource conservation and
                        development.  Plans address water quality, sustainable agriculture, com-
                        munity and economic development, and other concerns of interest to the
                        local citizens. The Conservation Buffer Initiative and the Watershed
                        Survey and Planning Program also offer;opportunities to assist livestock
                        producers in managing their potential environmental risks. One of the
                        results of the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) is to enhance or create
                        wetlands, which may provide non-point source pollution abatement for
                        surface water.  The WRP can be used for the purpose of minimizing water
                        quality impacts from AFOs.

                        AFO owners and operators may also participate in and utilize other State
                        and Federal programs to improve water quality and to develop and imple-
                        ment polluted runoff abatement activities, including State cost-share
                        programs and EPA's National Agriculture Compliance Assistance Center,
                        EPA's Section 319 non-point source grants and the Clean Water State
                        Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program authorized under the Clean Water Act
                        (CWA).  Using all USDA, EPA, and other Federal, State, and local pro-
                        grams together as tools helps leverage resources to help AFO owners and
                        operators in voluntarily addressing water quality and public impacts.
4.2 Regulatory
    Program for
    Some AFOs
The Federal CWA provides general authority for water pollution control
programs, including several programs related to animal feeding operations
(AFOs). About 2,000 primarily large AFOs have been issued permits by
EPA and the States under section 402 of the CWA., These permits, called
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits,
include conditions to limit pollution problems.  In 43 States and the Virgin
Islands, the .States are authorized by EPA to issue these NPDES permits.
These permits are generally written to implement national minimum
standards (referred to as effluent guidelines) established in regulations for
large AFOs, (A summary of the existing feedlots effluent limitation
guidelines is included in Figure 3.) NPDES permits must also include ~~_
conditions that assure attainment of any applicable State- or Tribe-estab-
                       lished water quality standards. These standards include designatecuses
                       water quality criteria to protect these uses, and an antidegradatian policy.
                                 . . .	;	    • ---"		--1'-1.-1"- -^~;^7-~i^?^-^=t^^-^!T*^i*'
                       USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

         EPA's Effluent
      Limitation Guidelines
           for CAFOs
                      •     ' I
      The effluent limitation
      guidelines allow no
      discharges to waters of the
    i  U.S. except when chronic
      or catastrophic rainfall
      events cause an overflow
      from 3 facility designed,
    *- constructed, and operated
      to hold process-generated
      wasteWater plus runoff
      from a 25-year, 24-hour
      storm event.  All NPDES
      permits for CAFOs with
    t  over 1,000 AUs other than j
    "  non-pfo"ducing facilities
      must contain an
      equivalent or more
      stringent effluent
      limitation.              ^
      See 40 fcFR Part 412.
Best management practices necessary to ensure compliance with the CWA,
such as those included in CNMPs, may be imposed in NPDES permits.
Where water quality standards are not attained, response actions generally
would be defined through the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) process ',
under Section 303(d) of the Act and implemented through revised NPDES
permits and other measures.                                            !

The existing provisions of the CWA and related EPA regulations provide
authority for including a significant number of AFOs in the permit program
beyond those that now have permits.  The statutory and regulatory authorities
that relate to AFOs are described below along with the approach EPA will  :
follow in setting priorities for carrying out these authorities.               ;

The CWA provides that no person may  "discharge" a pollutant except in    ,
accordance with a permit issued under section 402 of the Act. A "discharge";
is defined as "any addition of any pollutant to navigable waters from any point
source."  The term "pollutant" is broadly defined in the CWA and includes  ;
animal waste and related material.

The term "point source" as  defined in the CWA includes any "discernible,
confined and discrete conveyance" and specifically includes a "concentrated;
animal feeding operation" (CAFO).

The term "animal feeding operation" or AFO is defined in EPA regulations as
a "lot or facility" where animals "have been, are, or will be stabled or con-
fined and fed or maintained for a total of 45 days or more in any 12-month
period and crops, vegetation forage growth, or post-harvest residues are not
sustained in the normal growing season over any portion of the lot or facility."
                                      *                                i
An AFO is a "concentrated animal feeding operation" or CAFO if it meets the
regulatory definition of CAFO or if it is designated as a CAFO. The regula-
tions define a CAFO as an animal feeding operation where more than 1,000 :
"animal units" (as defined by the regulation) are confined at the facility; or '
more than 300 animal units are confined at the facility and:
• Pollutants are discharged into navigable waters  through a manmade ditch,;
  flushing system, or other similar manmade device; or                  ,

• Pollutants are discharged directly into waters that originate outside of and:
  pass over, across, or through the facility or come into direct contact with the
  confined animals.
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

In addition, the NPDES permit issuing agency may, after conducting an on-
site inspection, designate an animal feeding operation of any size as a CAFO
based on a finding that the facility "is a significant contributor of pollution to
the waters of the United States." A facility with 300 animal units or less,
however, may not be designated as a CA^FO under this authority unless pollut-
ants are discharged from a man-made device or are discharged directly into
waters passing over, across, or through the facility or that otherwise come into
direct contact with the confined animals.;

Poultry operations that remove waste from pens and stack it in areas exposed
to rainfall or adjacent to a watercourse may be considered to have established
a crude liquid manure system. Therefore, a facility that stacks waste in this
way and that otherwise meets the regulatory CAFO definition (40 CFR Part
122, Appendix B) may be considered to be a CAFO subject to the NPDES

   1,000 Animal Unit Equivalents in Existing CAFO Regulations1
   fc --•                           te,  *"                     $
   j^ Animal Type                Number of Animals
   IIS                            te   !                    ^
   -f^  Slaughter and Feeder Cattle

   jk_ Mature Dairy Cattle
   ess,            J	       _    «-
   |^_ Swine2

   t  Sheep or Lambs

   ifr_ Horses

   r  Turkeys

   £• Laying Hens or Broilers3

       Laying Hens or Broilers4

   1   Mixed








  1,000 Animal
    Source: 40 CFR Part 122, Appendix B.
    2Weighing over 25 kilograms (55 pounds).
    3If the facility has continuous overflow watering.
    4If the facility has a liquid manure system. '

Under the NPDES regulations, any person who discharges or proposes to
discharge pollutants to the waters of the United States from a point sourci"
(including a CAFO) must apply for a permit. As courts have found,
CAFO has had a past discharge, it must apply for a permit under the reguTStiom
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

                             The NPDES authority will issue a permit unless it determines that the facility
                             does not have a potential for a discharge.

                             The regulations also provide that no animal feeding operation is a CAFO
                             under the regulatory definition if it discharges only in the event of a 25-year,!
                             24-hour or larger storm event. (NPDES authorities can, however, designate
                             such operations as CAFOs.) Currently, EPA's policy is to treat only AFOs that
                             meet the regulatory definition of a CAFO or have been designated CAFOs as
                             point sources subject to the NPDES program (see Strategic Issue #3, Review
                             and Revision of Existing Regulations).                                 i

                             Another regulatory program which addresses AFOs is the Coastal Nonpoint
                             Pollution Control Program which is implemented under the authority of    :
                             Section 6217 of the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments (CZARA)
                             of 1990.  Section 6217 requires the 29 States and territories with NOAA-    :
                             approved Coastal Zone Management Programs to develop enforceable poli-
                             cies and mechanisms to implement nonpoint source controls, known as man-
                             agement measures. Two management measures address facility wastewater ,
                             and runoff from smaller AFOs, and another management measure addresses
                             nutrient management on farms.  In CZARA areas, point sources, including
                             CAFOs, are covered by the NPDES program while AFOs and other nonpoint
                             sources would be covered by the CZARA management measures. EPA and
                             NOAA should encourage States to consider the priorities of this Strategy
                             when implementing their Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Programs.

                             EPA believes that pollution of groundwater may be a concern around CAFOs.
                             EPA has noted in other documents that a discharge of pollutants via hydrologi-
                             cally connected groundwater to surface waters may be subject to NPDES
                             requirements. In addition, EPA has authority to consider contamination of
                             various environmental media in establishing effluent limitation guidelines.
                             EPA intends to address this issue in future regulations.
      43 Coordination
          with State and
          Tribal Programs
States and Tribes play a critical role in the development and implementation'
of national and State and Tribal resource protection programs. USDA and  ;
EPA are committed to work in partnership with States and Tribes. USDA and
EPA believe the need for a national goal and performance expectations for  ;
AFOs can be balanced with the need for flexibility to address the various
needs and priorities of the States and Tribes, including coordination with other
clean water programs.
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

Many States have used an array of voluntary and regulatory programs over the
years that support the national goal and performance expectation of this
Strategy. There also have been numerous changes to State and Tribal laws,
regulations, and programs to address water quality concerns with AFOs.
USDA and EPA agree that States and Tribes play an important part in achiev-
ing the national goal and performance expectation of this Strategy. USDA and
EPA expect to work with States and Tribes to implement effective programs to
achieve the national goal and performance expectation of this Strategy. In the
case of the small percentage of AFOs covered by existing regulatory  require-
ments (i.e., CAFOs), implementation of the national goal and performance
expectation will be guided by the Clean Water Act. This Strategy in no way is
intended to limit the ability  of States and Tribes to establish more  stringent

USDA and EPA have included actions in this Strategy to address a range of
State and Tribal issues.  These issues include:

• The need for additional resources to assist States to implement voluntary
  and regulatory programs;

• Improved integration of AFO-related activities with other Federal and State
  water quality programs (e.g., TMDLs,  ongoing watershed efforts);

• Working with States, Tribes, and other partners (e.g., through State Techni-
  cal Committees) to develop appropriate priorities for delivery of Federal
  programs (e.g. education, funding, and technical assistance) consistent with
  State priorities;

• Working with each of the States to determine the best mix of approaches to
  achieve the national goal  and performance expectation, including NPDES
  permits under the Clean Water Act for: a small percentage of AFOs and
  voluntary programs for most AFOs; and

• Working with States to review, and modify as appropriate, existing State
  NPDES Program authorizations to incorporate ongoing or new regulatory
  approaches for CAFOs  that meet or exceed the requirements of and, there-
  fore, are functionally equivalent to the1 NPDES Program.                   ]

EPA's Regional Administrators and the USDA Regional and State  leadership    j
will take a lead role, with support from USDA and EPA headquarters, to work^ 1
with State and Tribal environmental and agricultural agencies to detomine"._^
how existing and. proposed State and Tribal AFO programs may acEievelfie    3
                                     :       j.  «->       . ^-™;r. ;--:i;~ -^~:-~^^r^,J^m
national goal and performance expectations of this Strategy.
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

      4.4 Land
           )f Manure
EPA and USDA recognize that animal manure and wastewater from CAFOs is
commonly applied to the land. Proper land application of these resources has
agricultural benefits, but improper land application can cause water quality
and potential public health impacts.

As noted above, the addition of pollutants from a discrete conveyance (e.g.,
natural channel or gullies) to the waters is regulated under the CWA as a point
source discharge.  At the same time, the Act exempts "agricultural stormwater
discharges" from the definition of a point source. EPA has in the past, and  :
will in the future, assume that discharges from the vast majority of agricultural
operations are exempted from the NPDES program by this provision of the
Act. The agricultural stormwater exemption, as it relates to1 the land applica-
tion of manure and wastewater, however, would not apply in a small number
of circumstances,  such as when:

• The discharge is associated with the land disposal of animal manure and
  wastewater originating from a CAFO (which is defined as a point source in
  the CWA and is regulated as a point source); and

• The discharge is not the result of proper agricultural practices (i.e., in    ;
  general, the disposal occurred without a CNMP developed by a public   ;
  official or a certified private party or in a manner inconsistent with the   ;

NPDES permits should assure that the animal manure and wastewater from
the CAFO will be utilized properly and require periodic reporting on whether
the permittee has a CNMP and whether it is being implemented properly.
      4.5 Priorities for the
The NPDES permit program authorized by the CWA will be used to address'
the relatively small number of AFOs that cause water quality or public health
problems or that pose a significant risk to water quality or public health.
AFOs in several of the following situations are CAFOs and should be priori-
ties for NPDES permitting and enforcement:

  Significant Manure Production - Large facilities (those with greater than
  1,000 animal units) produce quantities of manure that can be a risk to water
  quality and public health. Because the amount of manure stored is so large,
  a spill while handling manure or a breach of a storage system can release
  large quantities of manure and wastewater into the environment causing  ;
  catastrophic water quality impacts and threatening public health. Land   ,
  application of large volumes of manure and wastewater also requires very
  careful planning to avoid water quality and public health impacts.
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

  These large facilities are considered to; be CAFOs and therefore are "point
  sources" subject to having an NPDES permit and are a priority for NPDES
  permit issuance. EPA believes that virtually all CAFOs with over 1,000
  animal units are covered by the permit; program and are a priority for permit
  issuance and enforcement. Of the estimated 450,000 animal feeding opera-
  tions, only about 6,600 facilities had over 1,000 animal units as of 1992.
  Due to increases in the number of large facilities over the past 7 years,
  EPA and USDA believe that as many as 10,000 such facilities may exist
  today. EPA and USDA expect to update this estimate based on newer

  Unacceptable Conditions - Some facilities with fewer than 1,000 AUs have
  unacceptable conditions that pose a significant risk of water pollution or
  public health problems. Specifically, facilities that have man-made convey-
  ances that discharge animal manure and wastewater to waters or have a
  direct discharge to waters that pass through the facility or come into direct
  contact with animals are a priority for permit issuance and enforcement. (As
  noted, it is currently EPA's policy that AFOs with 300 or fewer AUs are
  subject to the NPDES program only where they have been designated as
  CAFOs by the NPDES permitting authority.)

  There  is insufficient data on which to base an estimate of the number of
  AFOs that have unacceptable conditions.  EPA and USDA expect, however,
  that many, if not most, AFOs that now;have unacceptable conditions will
  voluntarily address those conditions to avoid the requirement to have a
  permit under the NPDES program.

  Significant Contributors to Water Quality Impairment - In cases where
  water quality monitoring provides evidence that pollution from an individual
  facility with fewer than 1,000 animal units or a collection of facilities
  including those with fewer than 1,000 animal units is significantly contribut-
  ing to impairment of a water body or a; watershed and non-attainment of a
  designated use, facilities that are contributing to the impairment should be
  designated as CAFOs and are a priority for permit issuance and enforce-
EPA encourages States to use existing watershed assessment processes, such
as the CWA section 303(d) listing process, to evaluate the causes of watgj^ ^
quality impairment. Such an assessment may indicate, for example, ffiaTa"
water body is impaired because of nutrient or pathogen problems
able to animal manure or wastewater; that a watershed has mqrejnanu
generated than there is land available to land-apply manure in the

USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

                               or that water pollution associated with AFOs poses a significant threat to
                               public health because such pollution may contaminate a public water supply
                               or sensitive ground water area. Source water assessments, are one mecha- ;
                               nism States can use to determine whether a public water supply is suscep-
                               tible to contamination from an AFO.  EPA estimates that between 2,000-
                               6,000 AFOs will be designated as CAFOs because they are significant    ',
                               contributors of pollution in watersheds with identified impairments.

                              This section has described permitting and enforcement priorities for the
                              regulatory program based on existing CAFO regulations.  EPA expects that
                              the total number of CAFOs in the situations described above that will be
                              priorities for coverage under NPDES permits will be in the range 15,000 -
                              20,000.                                                         .    ;
      4.6 CAFO CNMPs
NPDES permits include conditions and other requirements to minimize the
threat to water quality and public health and otherwise ensure compliance
with the requirements of the CWA. Among other things, permits for CAFOs
include conditions that ensure compliance with national effluent guidelines for
feedlots, where applicable. EPA will issue guidance on the development of
permits for CAFOs and will develop model permits.

The EPA guidance will also recommend that CAFO permits require the
development of a CNMP and its implementation on a schedule established in
the permit. The guidance will rely on NRCS's practice standards as the
appropriate practice standards for CAFO CNMPs. Where elements of the   ;
CNMP are included in a NPDES permit, schedules for implementation of the
practices or actions will be consistent with requirements of the CWA and State
law (e.g.,  compliance schedules that do not exceed the 5-year term of the
permit). The guidance will recognize that a feed management component of a
CNMP may be used to affect the nutrient: content of manure but will not .
prescribe feed management as a CNMP component. Finally, permits will
include any more stringent conditions that the permitting authority determines
are necessary to meet State water quality standards and other requirements  ;
established under State law.                                            '.

In addition, the guidance will recommend that CNMPs developed to meet the
requirements of the NPDES permit program in general must be developed by
a certified specialist, a qualified State agency official (e.g., cooperative exten-
sion agent), or by NRCS.
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

                       The ultimate responsibility for developing and implementing CNMPs resides
                       with the CAFO owner and/or operator. If the CNMP is developed as a re-
                       quirement of the NPDES permit program, the CNMP should be consistent
                       with this Strategy. The regulatory agency should ensure that the CNMP meets
                       the requirements of the CWA and is being implemented. State or Federal
                       enforcement agencies will work to ensure compliance with permit require-
4.7 Incentives for
Smaller CAFOs Can Exit the Regulatory Program

Smaller CAFOs (those with fewer than 1,000 AUs) should be allowed to exit
the permit program after the end of the 5-year permit term if they meet certain
conditions. To exit the program, a facility would be expected to demonstrate
that it has successfully addressed the conditions that caused it to be defined or
designated as a CAFO and that it is fully implementing its CNMP, and would
be expected to offer evidence and certify that it is in full compliance with its
permit at the end of the permit term.  In the event a facility that has exited the
program has a subsequent discharge, the permitting authority should again
consider the facility subject to permitting.

Good Faith Incentive

In many cases, AFOs with less than 1,000 AUs may be taking early voluntary
actions in good faith to manage manure !and wastewater in accordance with a
CNMP. Specifically, some AFOs that are voluntarily implementing a  CNMP
may have a discharge that makes them subject to being designated as CAFOs
under the NPDES permitting program but  does not cause them to be included
in the permitting priorities described above in Section 4.5. NPDES permitting
authorities should consider providing an opportunity for these AFOs to ad-
dress the cause of the discharge before designating them as CAFOs.

Tax Incentives To Encourage Improved  Stewardship

Among the actions in the CWAP, an interagency taskforce has identified and
assessed current and potential tax incentive proposals related to water pollu-
tion prevention and natural resource enhancement. A barrier analysis  and       j
options analysis has been conducted and a final report is being developed.      ;
The report will identify potential changes,  with any appropriate offsets, for      ;
proposals in future budgets. This can be a potential financial incentive for an j
AFO owner or operator to develop and implement a CNMP.              ^—
                       USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

                             5.0 Strategic Issues
Overview of Strategic Issues

This USDA-EPA Unified National Strategy on Animal Feeding Operations
addresses seven major strategic issues:

  Strategic Issue #1 - Building Capacity for CNMF Development and

  Strategic Issue #2 - Accelerating Voluntary, Incentive-Based Programs

  Strategic Issue #3 - Implementing and Improving the Existing Regulatory

  Strategic Issue #4 - Coordinated Research, Technical Innovation,
                   Compliance Assistance, and Technology Transfer

  Strategic Issue #5 - Encouraging Industry Leadership

  Strategic Issue #6 - Data Coordination

  Strategic Issue #1 - Performance Measures and Accountability
                             Strategic Issue #1:  Building Capacity for CNMP Development
                                                 and Implementation


                             The successful implementation of this Strategy depends on the availability of
                             qualified specialists from either the private or public sectors to assist in the
                             development and implementation of CNMPs. AFO owners and operators will
                             need substantially increased access to technical assistance from the private
                             and public sectors to implement an accelerated effort to help owners and
                             operators meet their sustainability and stewardship responsibilities through
                             early voluntary action and, at the same time, support a strengthened regulatory

                             Through prior or existing voluntary programs, NRCS has developed nutrient j
                             management plans. Those plans did not include all the components of a
                             CNMP for an AFO. Based on a current Workload Analysis Process, NRCS
                             estimates that at least 330,000 AFOs need to develop CNMPs or revise exist-
                             ing nutrient management plans to meet the performance expectation of this
                             Strategy. While some capacity exists within NRCS to develop some compo-
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

nents of CNMPs, it is estimated to take up to 2 years for NRCS to be fully
prepared to develop and assist with implementation of CNMPs.  For example,
NRCS will be updating conservation practice standards, developing and
delivering training, and certifying its employees.  During this interim period
NRCS will also develop plans that will be more inclusive of the components
of a CNMP and in the short term will deyelop guidance that others can use to
develop and assist in the implementation of CNMPs.

Desired Outcomes

• Increase the number of certified specialists to develop CNMPs.

• Consistent quality of CNMP development  and implementation.

• All AFO owners have a CNMP developed  by a certified specialist.

• Ensure that CNMPs are implemented junder the guidance of qualified

• Provide appropriate flexibility for States and Tribes to achieve the national
  performance expectation.           ;

• Support State efforts to build capacity for CNMP development and imple-


The following actions, to the extent allowed by available appropriations, are
intended to increase the supply of qualified technical specialists available to
assist AFO owners and operators develop  and implement CNMPs:

1. USD A and EPA will review available certification programs for those
  developing CNMPs for AFOs to ensure technical adequacy and will provide
  training and standards for these certification programs to improve their
  ability to certify CNMPs for AFOs.  USDA and EPA will support the
  development of State certification programs.

2. USDA and EPA will facilitate and encourage participation of private sector__
  consultants and technical advisors through certification, training, and other
  activities to ensure private sector sources of assistance can be effectively
  utilized by AFO owners and operators to develop and implement CNMPsT
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

                              3. USD A will increase funding within the NRCS Conservation Technical
                                Assistance (CTA) Program and Cooperative Extension System to increase :
                                technically qualified field staff, train existing Federal and non-Federal staff,
                                and provide enhanced technical support for Federal and non-Federal techni-
                                cal advisors. The Administration proposes to  increase CTA by $20 million
                                inFY2000.                                                        \

                              4. USDA and EPA will explore options for training and certifying AFO own-
                                ers and operators to develop and implement their own CNMPs.

                              5. USD A and EPA will facilitate the training of conservation contractors in the
                                installation of practices specified in a CNMP.

                              6. USDA and EPA will provide assistance in the form of computer models or
                                expert systems to assist in the development of CNMPs.

                              7. USDA and EPA will give priority to training those agencies and organiza- ;
                                tions that deliver services at the local level. The voluntary program is     '
                                delivered at the local level through SWCDs, Cooperative Extension Ser-
                                vice, USDA Service Centers, and the private sector. These local service  i
                                providers should also be fully informed of the elements of the regulatory  ;
                                programs.                                                         ;

                              8. USDA and EPA will sponsor a national meeting, in cooperation with States,
                                by March 2000 to solicit ideas on how to build capacity for the develop-
                                ment and implementation of CNMPs.
                              9. USDA will develop agreements with third-party vendors similar to the 1998
                                agreement with the Certified Crop Advisors (CCAs).  CCAs will provide
                                technical assistance to agricultural producers in nutrient management, pest
                                management, and residue management. Any assistance provided under
                                third party vendor agreements will meet NRCS standards and specifica-
                                tions, or State standards if more restrictive.
                              Strategic Issue #2:  Accelerating Voluntary, Incentive-based


                              USDA and EPA agree that the release of pollutants to surface or groundwater
                              from an AFO should be minimized regardless of size or management activity!
                              It is the ultimate responsibility of individual owners and operators, and the
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

companies and industries they are Involved with, to minimize the release of
pollutants from their operations. Under this Strategy, most AFOs are expected
to minimize the risk of pollution by voluntarily developing and implementing

Desired Outcomes

• All AFOs develop and are implementing CNMPs by 2009.

• Minimize pollution from AFOs to the greatest extent practical.

• Ensure the maximum environmental benefit is obtained per dollar ex-

• Ensure adequate financial incentives are available to minimize the eco-
  nomic impact of implementing CNMPs.

• Ensure that limited-resource, minority, and other under-served producers
  have the opportunity to participate fully in the voluntary programs.

• Provide appropriate flexibility for States and Tribes to achieve the national
  performance expectation.

• Coordinate with the States on the delivery of Federal voluntary programs to
  address State and local priorities.


1. National Conservation Practice Standards

  Develop and Revise National Conservation Practice Standards - To ensure
  that conservation policies and practices are current and sufficient to address
  water quality risks associated with AFOs, in consultation with EPA and
  with input from States and other stakeholders, NRCS will identify practice
  standards which need to  be developed or revised and propose a schedule for
  development or revision by September 1999. The process of revising
  practice standards at both the national and local level involves the public
  review of new or revised standards. The process should be streamline(f to
  the maximum extent possible.
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

                              2. Planning and Implementation
                                AFO CNMP Guidance - USDA's NRCS has national responsibility for    ;
                                conservation planning policy and procedures and will provide guidance, in
                                consultation with EPA, by September 1999 that can be used by AFO own-1
                                ers, operators, and others to develop a CNMP.                           '•

                                Comprehensive Nutrient Management Planning is a process through which
                                individuals, including AFO owners and operators, qualified in the technical
                                issues associated with AFOs, should develop CNMPs. Good CNMPs are
                                the result of a process that ensures all elements of an operation are consid-
                                ered and that causes of problems, rather than symptoms, are addressed. The
                                CNMP guidance will indicate what should be contained in the CNMP (such
                                as aerial photos or plan maps, planned conservation practices and schedule
                                of implementation, engineering designs for any constructed facilities for   !
                                storing or handling manure, records of soil and nutrient tests, appropriate  j
                                rates of land application to prevent the application of nutrients (e.g., nitro- i
                                gen and phosphorus) at rates that will exceed the capacity of the soil and
                                planned crops to assimilate nutrients and prevent pollution, and records of
                                practices and actions). On-farm assessment processes may be used to help;
                                local service providers determine priorities for assisting AFOs.

                              3. Outreach and Program Delivery                                    ;

                                Fair and equitable treatment - USDA and EPA will undertake aggressive
                                outreach to ensure that the technical and financial assistance provided in the
                                voluntary efforts recommended by this Strategy will be available to persons
                                without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disabil-
                                ity, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status.  These
                                outreach efforts are already underway and will accelerate with the release of
                                this Strategy.
                                Coordination with State and Tribal Programs - USDA and EPA will work
                                closely with the States and Tribes to ensure that the delivery of Federal
                                programs and assistance supports State and Tribal program priorities.
                                Existing coordination efforts such as the work of the State Technical Com-
                                mittees can be very useful in coordinating priorities among the voluntary
                                programs and with the regulatory program.

                              4. Financial Assistance for CNMP Implementation

                                Financial assistance can ease the burden on AFO owners and operators who
                                are implementing CNMPs.  Financial assistance will be particularly impor
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

  tant in helping existing AFOs improvfe the environmental performance of
  their operations. Failure to fully fund assistance at requested levels will
  seriously constrain our ability to accelerate progress through voluntary
  action and sometimes causes an economic hardship for AFOs. This is
  particularly true of limited-resource farmers.

  The primary source of USDA financial assistance to AFO owners and
  operators is the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), which
  was initiated in the 1996 Farm Bill. The Conservation Reserve Program
  (CRP) and the Small Watershed Protection Program (PL 83-566) are also
  available to AFO owners and operators meeting program eligibility require-
  ments. EQIP has been funded at $200 million in 1997 and 1998 and $174
  million in 1999. Approximately 45 percent of the funds in each of these
  years fund contracts with AFOs to develop and provide cost share incen-
  tives to help implement CNMPs that Consider most of the issues this Strat-
  egy recommends be addressed in a CNMP. The requests for funds for
  AFOs during each of those years was:for approximately three times the
  amount available. The Administration has requested $300 million for EQIP
  for FY 2000.

  The CRP provides farmers rental payments to set aside lands for various
  environmental purposes. The continuous sign-up provision of CRP targets
  the establishment of conservation buffers which are recognized as an
  important component of a CNMP. A provision of CRP, referred to as the
  Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), allows States to join
  with the Federal Government to increase rental rates paid to land owners by
  increasing funding for the CRP program with State funds. USDA estab-
  lished the Conservation Buffer Initiative in 1996 with the specific goal of
  establishing 2 million miles of buffers by 2002. In 1998, approximately
  $500 million was expended through CRP to establish an estimated 172,000
  miles of buffers throughout the United States.

  The PL 83-566 program received $87 million in FY 1997 and $90 million
  in FY 1998 and approximately $20 million per year was spent on 228
  watershed plans that address water quality. A majority of these watershed
  plans address AFOs.

  EPA has two programs that provide funds to States that can be partially
  used to help many AFOs meet the performance expectation. The first is fh~eT
  CWA Section 319 program, also known as the Nonpoint Source Manage^" :
  ment Program.  Under section 319, States, Territories, and Tribes apply lor'
  and receive grants from EPA to implement nonpoint source pollution™
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

                                controls.  Over $870 million have been available from this fund since 1990,
                                with approximately 39 percent being directed toward agricultural issues,   ;
                                including AFOs.

                                The second EPA fund is the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF),'.
                                which is a State-run program used to make low-interest loans (as low as
                                zero percent) for important water quality projects.  Managed by the States,
                                the CWSRF program can fund a variety of activities to control nonpoint
                                source pollution, including collection, treatment, storage, and land applica-
                                tion of both liquid and solid manures.  The CWSRF program is currently
                                funding approximately $3 billion in projects annually—with a cumulative
                                total since its inception of $23 billion. Since 1988, the CWSRF program
                                has funded over $840 million in nonpoint source projects, including AFOs,
                                to address polluted runoff.

                                Currently, many States have cost-share programs that address water quality
                                issues. Funds from these programs are available to owners or operators to
                                assist in development and implementation of CNMPs. USD A and EPA   ;
                                strongly encourage such programs.

                                To help provide Federal financial assistance to AFO owners and operators
                                to develop and implement CNMPs, USD A and EPA will, as appropriate:
                                  • Continue and increase collaboration on AFO issues particularly at the
                                    field level, to better target and leverage available resources from all
                                    applicable programs to assist AFOs in addressing water quality issues.
                                  • Target Federal financial assistance to existing AFOs who need to
                                    develop or revise CNMPs to meet the performance expectation estab-
                                    lished by this Strategy.                                           [

                                  • Significantly increase EQIP funding as requested in the President's
                                    budget to meet the expressed demand from AFO owners and operators
                                    for financial assistance.

                                  • Encourage AFO owners and operators to take full advantage of the
                                    CRP program and establish conservation buffers as part of their      !
                                    CNMPs. Also encourage States to collaborate with the Federal gov-
                                    ernment through the CREP provision of the CRP program.          !

                                  • Encourage States to use 319 funding in implementing programs that
                                    address management issues of AFOs. In particular, EPA will work
                                    with States to target the requested increase in 319 funds to impaired
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

       EPA will work with States to increase the number and dollar amount of
       loans made through the Clean Water SRF for priority projects to
       prevent polluted runoff, with the; goal of increasing the annual percent-
       age of funds loaned for this purpose to at least 10 percent (or about
       $200 million) by the year 2001.  EPA will also work with States
       toward the goal of increasing to 25 the number of States using inte-
       grated priority-setting systems to make clean water funding decisions
       by the year 2000.  EPA will work with States to promote the use of
       these funds for AFO implementation measures.

       To further support the objectives; of the Clean Water Action Plan and
       this Strategy, EPA proposes for FY 2000 to allow States to reserve up
       to an amount equal to 20 percent, of their CWSRF capitalization grants
       to provide grants of no more than 60 percent of the costs of imple-
       menting nonpoint source and estuary management projects.  Projects
       receiving grant assistance must, to the maximum extent practicable,
       rank highest on the State's list used to prioritize projects eligible for
       assistance.  Grants may also be used in combination with loans for
       agricultural entities which might otherwise find loans unaffordable.

       Encourage States and Tribes to address AFO issues as they develop
       watershed restoration action strategies for priority watersheds under

       Develop a tool package of financial assistance programs by December
       2000 that will be available so that AFO owners, counties, SWCDs, and
       States can assess options and  understand how to receive financial
Strategic Issue #3: Implementing and Improving the Existing
                    Regulatory Program


This Strategy describes the applicability and the requirements of the existing
regulatory program, identifies permitting and enforcement priorities, and
describes EPA's plans to strengthen and improve existing regulations. For
those facilities covered by the NPDES permitting program, CNMPs shpuldT."
identify steps to protect water quality and public health and should be a fce)"~~~
element of the permit.                                       ^7-:^,,,.«««
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

Desired Outcomes

• Minimize pollution from CAFOs to the greatest extent practicable.

• Ensure the efficient use of resources to optimize environmental benefits.

• Priority CAFOs are covered by NPDES permits, by January 2000, that   ;
  require development and implementation of CNMPs.

• Review and revise as appropriate the effluent limitation guidelines for
  feedlots and the NPDES CAFO permitting regulations.

• Provide appropriate flexibility for States and Tribes to achieve the national
  performance expectation.


1. Improve Implementation of the Existing CWA Permitting Program

EPA, in cooperation with State and Tribal partners, will substantially improve
implementation of the existing NPDES permitting program for CAFOs. This
section lays out a two-phase approach to permitting of CAFOs, and describes
flexibility within the existing regulatory program and improved tools for

  A. NPDES Permitting of CAFOs                                    \

  EPA will work with States to establish a two-phase approach to permitting :
  CAFOs. Round I of CAFO permitting will begin this year, will focus on
  large CAFOs (i.e., over 1,000 animal units (AUs)), and will occur under
  EPA's existing regulations.  Starting in 2005, Round II permits will reflect
  revisions to the effluent guidelines, permit program regulations, and State-
  adopted water quality standards.

    Round I Permits for CAFOs (2000-2005)

    In Round  I, EPA and NPDES-authorized States will give top priority to
    issuing statewide general NPDES permits and, where appropriate, indi-
    vidual permits, to cover all CAFOs with significant manure production
    (i.e., greater than 1,000 AUs).

    General permits should be issued not later than January 2000 and affected
    CAFOs will be expected to submit a notice of intent (NOI) to be covered

 USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

    by the permit. General permits should require facilities to develop and
    implement CNMPs on a schedule identified in the permit, develop record
    keeping procedures, routinely monitbr, and otherwise report on the imple-
    mentation of the CNMP and compliance with the permit. These general
    permits should require that the public have access to and be able to review
    any NOI, CNMP, and other relevant reports that are developed pursuant to
    a permit. The public would not have1 access to information that a CAFO
    has appropriately justified as confidential business information. EPA does
    not expect that information about typical manure management practices
    will be confidential.

    There are situations where a general permit may not be appropriate.  EPA
    and the NPDES-authorized States should use individual NPDES permits
    in Round I for exceptionally large operations, new operations or those
    undergoing significant expansion, operations with historical compliance
    problems, or operations with significant environmental concerns.

    CAFOs can result in environmental problems other than surface water
    pollution, including odor, and ground water and drinking water contamina-
    tion.  EPA encourages States to develop innovative programs that build on
    the foundation of an NPDES permit and also use new technologies and
    other approaches that result in a more comprehensive response to environ-
    mental impacts associated with CAFOs. Where a State develops an
    NPDES program that provides a more comprehensive response to  environ-
    mental issues at CAFOs, EPA will defer to the State's judgment with
    respect to the use of individual or general permits.

    Individual permits should be issued as expeditiously  as possible. When
    setting schedules for issuance of individual permits, EPA and States should
    consider State-specific circumstances such as the total number of CAFOs
    with greater than 1,000 AUs, the need to issue individual NPDES permits
    to new or exceptionally large facilitieis, and the availability of technical
    assistance for development of CNMPs. States may give permitting priority
    to impaired water bodies (such as 303(d) listed waters or those identified
    in State water quality management plans).

    Beginning on the date of this Strategy, EPA plans to issue and strongly   '"
    recommends  that States issue individual permits to new CAFOs only   J"
    where the permits are consistent with CWA requirements and the priorities
    described in this  Strategy. EPA emphasizes that all CAFOs must have J3
    NPDES permit to discharge and are subject to enforcement action  ifjhey
    discharge without such a permit.                               .
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

                                 Also in Round I, EPA and NPDES-authorized States and Tribes should
                                 issue permits for those CAFOs smaller than 1,000 AUs with unacceptable
                                 conditions and watershed general permits for facilities that have fewer  :
                                 than 1,000 AUs and are CAFOs because they cause or contribute to water
                                 pollution in watersheds where there are aggregate water quality impacts
                                 from AFOs on a watershed scale (see Section 4.5 - Significant Contribu-
                                 tors to Water Quality Impairment). EPA and States should issue these   ,
                                 permits by the end of 2002 whenever possible. Some States may be able
                                 to issue these permits sooner than 2002 and other States may need addi- i
                                 tional time.

                                 EPA's regulations on general permits (40 CFR 122.28) allow the issuance
                                 of a single permit to cover facilities that share common elements (e.g.,
                                 CAFOs) within a specific geographic area (e.g., watershed). Watershed ',
                                 general permits may cover any CAFO in a watershed that is not covered
                                 by an individual permit. These watershed general permits would allow
                                 for tailoring of NPDES permit requirements to the needs of a watershed.
                                 Watershed general permits could also tailor permit requirements to the  ;
                                 manure and wastewater management practices in a given locality and
                                 promote more effective public participation than would a statewide gen-1
                                 eral permit. These watershed general permits should require that the
                                 public have access to and be able to review any NOI, CNMP and other  ;
                                 relevant reports that are developed pursuant to a permit. The public would
                                 not have access to information that a CAFO has appropriately justified as
                                 confidential business information. EPA does not expect that information
                                 about typical manure management practices will be confidential.       ,

                                 EPA expects that the term of Round I permits will be 5 years and that these
                                 permits will not need to be revised or reissued to reflect changes to the  ;
                                 effluent limitation guidelines or CAFO permitting regulations.

                                 Round II Permits for CAFOs (2005-2010)

                                 The second round of CAFO permits should begin in 2005 with the
                                 reissuance of general permits for CAFOs with greater than 1,000 AUs.  In
                                 addition, EPA and NPDES-authorized States and Tribes should reissue
                                 individual permits as their 5-year permit terms expire during the second
                                 round and issue new individual permits consistent with this Strategy (e.g.,
                                 new facilities over 1,000 AUs). Finally, EPA and States should reissue
                                 general permits to other CAFOs where water quality issues are not
                                 resolved as a result of the initial Round I permit.                     '
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

   Round IINPDES permits should incorporate any new requirements
   resulting from revisions to the CAFO permitting regulations and effluent
   guidelines for feedlots.  In addition, Round II CAFO permits would
   incorporate refinements to site-specific CNMPs and address any additional
   requirements necessary to meet water quality goals and objectives (e.g.,
   State water quality standards for nutrients).

  B. Recognition of State and Tribal CAFO Permit Programs

  EPA is committed to strengthen partnerships with States and Tribes to
  ensure that the CAFO permitting activities called for in this Strategy are
  well coordinated with State programs. In cases where EPA issues NPDES
  permits in a non-authorized State, EPA will work closely with State agencies
  to complement and support State programs related to AFOs and CAFOs.
  Most States, however, have authority to issue CAFO NPDES permits con-
  sistent with this Strategy.

  EPA recognizes that some States may be implementing permitting programs
  under State law that meet or exceed the requirements of and, therefore, are
  functionally equivalent to the NPDES Program, as provided in 40 CFR Part
  123. The NPDES regulations provide for the recognition of these State
  programs as NPDES permitting programs (40 CFR Part 123). Where a State
  can demonstrate that its program meets the requirements of an NPDES
  program consistent with 40 CFR Part 123, EPA will amend the current
  NPDES authorization to recognize the;State program. The procedures for
  review and public notice of a State program revision in Part 123 apply to
  these actions.  Where a State indicates !an interest in amending its NPDES
  program authorization to recognize a State permitting program, EPA will
  make every effort to make this amendment expeditiously. In the case of
  requests to amend a program authorization to cover permits for CAFOs with
  more than 1,000 AUs, States should propose program amendments by
  October 1, 1999. EPA will act on CAFO program proposals within 45 days
  so that States can meet the goal of issuing NPDES permits for these large
  CAFOs by January 2000.
  In the case of CAFOs with fewer than 1,000 AUs, EPA expects that some
  States may want to work during 2000 and 2001 to modify State authorities,
  regulations, or procedures so that EPA is able to recognize them as NPDES
  programs consistent with the program modification procedures in 40 CFR
  123.                              •                           -%
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

  EPA will also work with States to ensure that enforcement priorities are   ;
  designed to complement and ensure successful implementation of this
  Strategy. However, notwithstanding these priorities, it should also be
  recognized that EPA may take action for discharges without a permit or
  discharges in violation of a permit, and initiate emergency actions at any
  time against any AFO that presents an imminent or substantial endanger-  ,
  C.  CAFO Permitting Guidance and Model Permits                     :
                    (-J '	;                      i
  EPA will develop comprehensive guidance on NPDES permitting of
  CAFOs, including development of statewide, individual, and watershed
  general permits. EPA will also develop model statewide, individual, and
  watershed general permits. The permitting guidance and model permits will
  be issued in draft in May 1999 and in final form in August 1999.         '.

  Among the subjects to be addressed in the guidance is the process for
  establishing CNMP development schedules for those facilities  covered by ;
  individual and general permits. These CNMP development schedules
  should be appropriate to the circumstances in each State. The largest
  CAFOs (i.e., greater than 1,000 AUs) should develop and begin implemen-
  tation  of CNMPs by 2003 and all other CAFOs by 2005.

  The guidance will also address issues such as who is required to obtain a  .
  permit, elements of a permit  (which may differ for new or expanding
  CAFOs and existing CAFOs), and different types of permits, including
  watershed general permits, and will clarify the criteria for issuing individual
  permits (e.g., exceptionally large operations, new operations or those under-
  going  significant expansion,  operations with historical compliance prob-
  lems, or operations with significant environmental concerns), consistent
  with the permitting priorities described in Section 4.5. EPA expects that
  permit elements will include specific performance measures for CNMP   j
  development and implementation, monitoring, and reporting (including
  reporting on CNMPs for land application and their implementation, notice
  of discharges, and spill response reporting).  In addition, the guidance will
  recommend public notice procedures for CAFOs covered by general, water-
  shed-specific, and individual permits and mechanisms for public review of
  and access to CNMPs developed pursuant to a permit.

  The guidance will provide that in those instances where a CAFO owner or
  operator transfers its manure and wastewater to another person for land
  application off-site (i.e., at a  location apart from the CAFO), it is appropriate
  for the NPDES authority to include conditions in the permit to require the

USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

  CAFO owner or operator to do one or more of the following:

     •  Provide data on nutrient content fo the off-site recipient;
     •  Record the recipients of the animal manure and wastewater being
       transferred off-site;
     •  Obtain a certification from the off-site recipient that it has a CNMP.

  The model permits will provide that CNMPs developed pursuant to a per-
  mit, or that are directly related to issuance of a permit, must be provided to
  the permitting authority by the permittee.  In addition, EPA will consider
  including in the model permits a procedure for CAFOs with greater than
  1,000 AUs that opt not to apply for a permit, to notify the permitting author-
  ity of this intention. Some States have adopted approaches in their permit-
  ting programs that recognize the environmental responsibilities of corporate
  entities that participate in the operation of CAFOs. EPA believes that
  corporate entities that exercise substantial operational control over a CAFO
  should be co-permitted along with the CAFO owner/operator and will
  clarify this in the CAFO permitting guidance.

  EPA believes that a CNMP developed by public sector parties or certified
  private parties should be a condition of an individual or general NPDES
  permit. EPA guidance will indicate that the CNMP generally should be the
  principal substantive pollution control provision of the permit and will rely
  on NRCS's practice standards as the appropriate practice standards for
  CAFO CNMPs. NPDES permitting authorities may, however, impose other
  provisions, including any more stringent conditions necessary to meet the
  requirements of the CWA.
2. Review and Revision of Existing Regulations

EPA plans to review and revise as appropriate several existing regulations that
pertain to CAFO'S. The regulatory review and revision process will be con-
ducted in accordance with applicable legal requirements (e.g., Administrative
Procedure Act, Regulatory Flexibility Act). Among the factors that EPA will
consider are the risk to water quality and public health, ease of implementa-
tion, enforceability, burden on the regulated community, and statutory require-
ments.                               :   •                        '7^"*'^-*^
 A.  Feedlots Effluent Limitation Guidelines

  EPA will, with input from USDA, States, Tribes, other FederaragSncies and[
  the public, review and revise as appropriate, the effluent limitation,guide-
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

                                lines for feedlots. EPA is under a court-ordered schedule to revise the
                                guidelines for poultry and swine by December 2001 and for beef and dairy
                                cattle by December 2002.  EPA is currently discussing revisions to this
                                schedule with the parties to the litigation.  NRCS and other USDA agencies
                                will participate on the regulatory workgroup to advise EPA on the technical
                                and implementation aspects related to any proposed revisions.

                                EPA promulgated the existing Effluent Limitation Guidelines and New
                                Source Performance  Standards for the Feedlots Point Source Category (40
                                CFR 412) in 1974. The effluent guidelines for feedlots applies to a subset of
                                operations, including those in the following animal sectors: beef and dairy
                                cattle, swine, sheep, horses, broiler and layer chickens, and turkeys.      |

                                The guideline establishes a "no discharge" requirement for process waste-
                                water which, in general, includes the manure from the feedlot as well as any
                                precipitation that comes into contact with the manure or any products used
                                in or resulting from the production of animals or direct products (e.g., milk,
                                eggs). The requirement prohibits discharges except those that result from
                                chronic or catastrophic rainfall events that cause an overflow from a facility
                                designed, constructed, and operated to contain all process waste waters plus
                                the runoff from a 25-year, 24-hour storm. This "no discharge" standard
                                applies to existing as well as new facilities.

                                  EPA expects that revisions to the effluent guidelines will:

                                   • Be closely coordinated with any changes to the NPDES permitting  ;
                                     regulations.                                                    :
                                   • Consider innovative and alternative technologies, including technolo-
                                     gies that do not involve storage of liquid manure.
                                   • Assess different management practices that minimize the discharge of
                                     pollutants and the cross-media transfer of pollutants (e.g., to the air
                                     and to ground water).
                                   • Evaluate alternative use and disposal options for manure that nonethe-
                                     less capture their nutrient/energy value.
                                   • Evaluate options for regulating dry manure handling systems.      :
                                   • Evaluate the need for different requirements for new or expanding and
                                     existing facilities.
                                   •  Consider investments which may have been made to develop and
                                     implement CNMPs.
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

  B. NPDES Permit Regulations       •

  EPA, with input from USDA, States, Tribes, other Federal Agencies, and the
  public, expects to revise the NPDES permit program regulations regarding
  CAFOs in coordination with revisions to the Effluent Guidelines for Feed-

  EPA intends to revise the existing permitting regulations to clarify expecta-
  tions and requirements for CAFOs as well as to reflect the changes in the
  industry. NRCS and other USDA agencies will participate on the regulatory
  workgroup to advise EPA on the technical and implementation aspects
  related to any proposed revisions.  Revision of the permitting regulations is
  expected to be closely coordinated with the revision of the Feedlots Effluent
  Limitation Guideline (40 CFR Part 412) because of the commonality of
  issues and the administrative efficiencies for EPA, States, and all interested
  groups. Permits in effect on the date of new regulations will remain in
  effect until subsequently changed to incorporate the new requirements.

    Key permitting issues that EPA intends to consider during the regulatory
    revision process include:

    • Establishing specific monitoring and reporting requirements for permit-
      ted facilities.
    • Clarifying requirements for effective management of manure and
      wastewater from CAFOs whether they are handled on-site or off-site.
    • Clarifying whether and under what conditions AFOs may be subject to
      NPDES requirements.
    • Explore alternative ways of defining CAFOs (e.g., facilities that have a
      man-made conveyance, regardless,of size).
    • Consider requirements for CAFOs to conduct self-certifications and
      self-evaluations of CNMP implementation and keep records of such
      evaluations on-site.              '
    • Considering large poultry operations, consistent with the size threshold
      for other animal sectors, as CAFOs, regardless of the type of watering
      or manure handling system.      ;                               ~^_*
    • Who may designate and the criteria for designating certain AFOs as
      CAFOS.                                                   r^a
    • Protection of sensitive or highly valuable water bodies such as public
      water supplies, Outstanding National Water Resources, Sole SpurciT
      Aquifers, wetlands, ground water recharge areas, zones Qf^signiBcant;;
      ground/surface water interaction, and other areas.
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

    •  Requiring CAFOs to have an NPDES permit even if they only dis-
      charge during a 25-year, 24-hour or larger storm event.
    •  Requiring individual permits for CAFOs in some situations.
    •  Appropriate public review of general permit conditions applicable to
      individual facilities, including public notice of facilities to be covered.
    •  Explore alternative approaches to ensuring that corporate entities
      support the efforts of individual CAFOs to comply with permits and
      develop and implement CNMPs.

C. TMDL Regulations                                                \

EPA expects to propose the TMDL implementation rule in 1999. EPA may
consider clarifying its authority to designate AFOs as CAFOs in an NPDES-
authorized State.  EPA may consider using this authority in those situations

    •  EPA disapproves a State's TMDL implementation plan; and
    •  EPA determines that the AFOs in the TMDL implementation plan are
      causing or contributing to the impairment.

3. Improve Implementation of the Existing CWA Compliance and
  Enforcement Program
The following actions are designed to improve implementation of the existing
CWA compliance and enforcement program for CAFOs and support imple-
mentation of this Strategy:

A. CAFO Compliance Assurance Implementation Plan Revisions - EPA will
revise its CAFO Compliance Assurance Implementation Plan as necessary to
ensure that EPA and State compliance and enforcement priorities support
implementation of this Strategy. EPA will continue to work with States to
develop and implement CAFO permitting, compliance assistance, and en-
forcement priorities consistent with this Strategy. However, EPA may take
action for discharges without a permit or discharges in violation of a permit,
and initiate emergency actions at any time against any AFO that presents  an
imminent or substantial endangerment.

B. Compliance Assistance -  EPA will continue and expand compliance assis-
tance efforts led by the National Agriculture Compliance Assistance Center
consistent with the Strategy and changes to the regulatory program. As     :
regulations are revised and implemented, EPA's initial efforts will focus on
compliance assistance and later shift to a greater focus on enforcement activi-
ties.                                         '	

USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

C. CAFO Inspections - EPA will work \yith States to establish commitments
for inspection of CAFOs, with the goal of inspecting existing CAFOs (includ-
ing unannounced periodic inspections to: determine if CAFO CNMPs are
being implemented) and other facilities that may need to be designated as
CAFOs because they may fall into one of the categories that are priorities for
NPDES permitting. Under the current CAFO Compliance Assurance Imple-
mentation plan, EPA and States should identify the universe of CAFOs and
inspect all CAFOs in priority areas (e.g.,, watersheds) by FY 2001, and ensure
that all other CAFOs are inspected by FY 2003. EPA will evaluate the need to
make any adjustments to these goals. EPA expects that training will be neces-
sary for inspectors and will engage specialists familiar with AFOs and associ-
ated management practices to assist in this training.

D. Information Needs for the Regulatory Program - EPA will work with
States to identify the information needed to manage and oversee the national
regulatory program for CAFOs.
Strategic Issue #4:  Coordinated Research, Technical Innovation,
                    Compliance Assistance, and
                    Technology Transfer


Coordinated research, technical innovation, compliance assistance, and tech-
nology transfer relative to the environmental management of AFOs are critical
components of this Strategy. USD A and EPA, together with other Federal
partners, should coordinate in these areas.

Knowledge gaps exist in our understanding of the effects of AFOs on natural
resources and environmental quality. Some of this lack of understanding is
due to the fragmented structure of our research and data collection efforts,
information residing in multiple locations with much of the information
obtained with objectives different from those of this Strategy and different
information being used by AFO managers, technical assistance specialists and
regulators. For example, research is done primarily from an animal produc-    ;
tion and natural resource management perspective by the Agricultural Re-     j
search Service (ARS), Economic Research Service (ERS), and the Land-Grant 7*
Colleges and Universities, among others. These entities also do research on	 j
economic issues such as economic impact, cost/benefit analyses, policy        j
analyses, and resource use and environmental implications. EPA, U.S. Geo^r 3
logical Survey (USGS), and university researchers conduct research onAFpsP
from an environmental quality viewpoint. EPA and USDAwill, in coordlmf

USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

                             tion with the private sector, the Land-Grant Colleges and Universities and
                             others, develop a coordinated plan for research, development, and assessment.

                             USDA and EPA intend to support education, technical assistance, and finan-
                             cial incentives for AFO owners and operators to modify existing operations, or
                             to establish new operations, that adopt sustainable production systems and
                             practices. In so doing, USDA and EPA intend to highlight AFO owners and
                             operators with successful models of sustainable systems.

                             USDA and EPA also intend to support the research outlined in the National
                             Commission on Small Farms Report (January 1998). For example the USDA-
                             CSREES Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education (SARE) competi-
                             tive grant program provides valuable management strategies and farming
                             practices for small farms.

                             Desired Outcome

                             A coordinated approach to research, technical innovation, compliance assis-
                             tance, sharing knowledge, and technology transfer.


                             1. USDA-EPA AFO Information, Education, and Research Working

                             USDA and EPA will establish a National AFO Information, Education, and
                             Research Working Group. Appropriate EPA offices and USDA agencies
                             would provide support to the working group.  The ARS, for example, has
                             established national programs on "Manure and Byproduct Utilization" and
                             "Integrated Farming Systems" which address research and technology issues
                             identified in this Strategy, including alternative sustainable animal production
                             systems. USDA and EPA will coordinate with the National Agricultural
                             Library in Beltsville, Maryland, which currently serves as a USDA repository
                             for research data and results,  as well as FJPA's National Agriculture Compli-
                             ance Assistance Center.  Other Federal agencies that are conducting relevant
                             research, information management, and technical assistance activities would
                             be invited to join as members. Members of the working group would contrib-
                             ute both financial and personnel support to the working group's activities,
                             although each cooperating agency would be directly responsible for the
                             management of its human and financial resources. The working group would
                             develop and manage a coordinated research, information exchange, and
                             technical assistance program.  The working group would also collaborate and
                             coordinate activities with other appropriate entities. The Working Group
                             would be tasked to complete the three action items described below:
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

 A. Coordinated Research Plan - EPA and USD A will commit to developing a
 process for setting research priorities, coordinating research activities, partici-
 pating in joint research endeavors, and sharing research results. This process
 will result in a coordinated AFO research plan which will establish priorities
 for future research including:          i

    1.  Methods to better manage manure to address nutrients, pathogens, and
        other pollutants.               i
    2.  Modification of animal diets to reduce nutrients in manure.
    3.  Mitigation of sites with excessive pollutants.
    4.  Evaluation of impacts of best management practices from farm and
        watershed perspectives.
    5.  Educational materials for all audiences that meet their conservation,
        regulatory, and production needsi
    6.  Alternative uses of animal manure, such as for energy production or
        for high-value, low-volume fertilizers.
    7.  Assessment of the risk to human health due to the release of patho-
        gens, hydrogen sulfide gas, ammonia gas, and particulates from AFOs,
        as well as the climate change effects of methane and NOx emissions
        from AFOs.
    8.  Assessment of the problem of air deposition of nutrients.
    9.  Assessment of the water quality and fish and wildlife impacts from
        AFOs, including pathogens, hormones, antibiotics, and metals, and the
        food safety impacts resulting from the discharge of these and other
        compounds to the environment.
    10. Assessment of the quality of existing monitoring data.
    11. Alternatives to production methods that use animal confinement.
    12. Establishment of soil phosphorus threshold levels.
    13  Alternatives for transporting manure, manure distribution, and
    14. Water quality risk of wet and dry'manure management.

 B.  Coordinated Technology Transfer and Education Plan - USDA and EPA
 will develop a coordinated AFO technology transfer and education plan by
 December 1999. The plan will describe how to disseminate the results of      ]
 AFO-related research.                                                    1

                                     :                             ~   -"vl
 C.  Virtual Center - USDA and EPA will develop a Virtual Center by Decem-  1
 ber 2000 with the goal of creating a single point of reference for both agen-    "•
 cies, the individual producers, the livestock industry, and the general public.   1
 The Virtual Center will consist of a website to  be maintained by personnel  ~~~~
 from both USDA and EPA where research results, analyses, comments^an
 responses to the research, automated nutrient management and recQr4 keeping
	                                     ..- - - ,.iV--. „_,, ..-„_,„.. -^"^^-^K^SS.
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

                          tools, and scholarly papers on the research project or related information
                          would be available to all. The website would also contain relevant informa-
                          tion on State and Federal approaches to management of AFOs and may in-
                          clude State and Federal statutes, regulations, policies, example permits,
                          inspection forms, compliance assistance materials, design criteria, etc. To the
                          extent possible, the site will link to sources of this information and will coor-
                          dinate with other related AFO information dissemination efforts. With respect
                          to research information, an ethic of confidentiality will be maintained on this

                          2. Sustainable Agriculture

                          USD A and EPA will support the policy recommendation of the President's
                          Council on Sustainable Development Taskforce Report on Sustainable Agri-
                          culture to "Promote the research needed to support a sustainable U.S. agricul-

                          3. Livestock Environmental Issues Curriculum Development and Implementa-
                          tion Project

                          The project will develop a nationally recognized, producer-oriented core
                          curriculum addressing high-profile livestock environmental issues. A nation-
                          wide team of project participants from 11 Land-Grant Universities will work
                          closely with EPA and USD A to increase livestock producers' understanding of
                          the principles of environmental management and to foster compliance with all
                          environmental requirements that affect this sector. The project will develop
                          materials and other tools to help producers use common-sense,; cost-effective
                          approaches to meeting these requirements. Livestock producers and informa-
                          tion providers will be able to access these curriculum resources through
                          multiple, readily accessible delivery methods.
                           Strategic Issue #5:  Encouraging Industry Leadership


                           This Strategy intends to provide strong incentives for AFO owners and opera-
                           tors to develop and implement CNMPs. Other sectors of the animal agricul-
                           ture industry can also play a key role in helping to encourage adoption of
                           these CNMPs and address water quality problems on individual AFOs. An
                           example is the Comprehensive Environmental Framework for Pork Produc-
                           tion Operations recommended by the National Environmental Dialogue on
                           Pork Production. The Dialogue included representatives from State agricul-
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

    ture and environmental agencies, USDA, EPA, and the pork industry.
    The National Pork Producers Council is recommending that the Frame-
    work would apply to all commercial pork production operations.  The
    poultry industry, through the results of the National Poultry Dialogue, has
    endorsed a number of actions that parallel the goal of this Strategy and the
    cattle industry has a long record of promoting land stewardship.  These are
    examples of industry-led initiatives that can significantly increase the
    voluntary adoption of CNMPs to protect water quality.

    In addition to the animal agriculture industry, other groups (e.g., co-ops,
    the Certified Crop Advisors, and the National Association of Independent
    Crop Consultants) can play a key role in helping AFOs protect water
    quality and public health.

    Desired Outcome

    The animal agriculture industry will take a leadership role in promoting
    and ensuring the protection of water quality on individual AFOs though
    development and implementation of CNMPs on all AFOs.


    The following are actions that USD A and EPA may take to promote
    industry involvement.              |

    Industry-Led Initiatives - USDA and EPA will work with industry, in
    particular integrators, to identify opportunities for greater industry in-
    volvement in pollution prevention.  This could include the integrators
    providing technical, educational, and financial assistance to producers and/
    or requiring CNMPs in contracts with producers. This could also include
    industry use of climate, soil, and crop information to locate future opera-
    tions.  USDA and EPA will promote industry-led dialogues in different
    AFO sectors such as the recently concluded pork dialogue and the poultry
    dialogue.                          ;

    Manure Brokering Networks - USDA and EPA will investigate with the
    industry the potential for manure brokering networks to make sure excess
    manure is available to the cropland which needs it.
                                                            .....   .
   AFO Owner I Operator Peer Network - USDA and EPA will promoTe.witii' i j
   the industry a peer network of AFO owners and operators willing to .assisF" J
   other producers in their area with questions or assistance on CNMPs  "*""  '**'
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

                             AFO Awards Program - USD A and EPA will work with States, Tribes, and
                             AFO Industry groups to consider options for developing an awards program to
                             promote innovative, sustainable, and other effective water quality manage-
                             ment of AFOs.

                             Disseminate Information - USDA and EPA will work with industry (associa-
                             tions, integrators, etc.) to disseminate information on the revised NPDES
                             regulations and effluent guidelines, beginning in 2001.

                             Locally Led Watershed Efforts - USDA and EPA will work with the AFO
                                   t*               tfe*                                            (
                             industry to promote locally led watershed efforts.

                             Industry-Developed Planning Tools - USDA and EPA will encourage and
                             support industry efforts to develop and distribute planning tools to members to
                             enable them to develop and implement CNMPs.

                             Environmental Reviews - USDA and EPA will promote industry efforts to
                             conduct environmental reviews of members'AFOs to evaluate environmental
                             performance and assist in enhancing environmental protection.

                             ManurelFertilizerlBiosolids Dialogue - USDA and EPA will encourage
                             dialogue on how to maximize the benefits of using manure, fertilizer, and

                             Marketing and Promotion Orders - The 1996 Farm Bill authorized conserva-
                             tion as a purpose for marketing and promotion orders.  Marketing and promo-
                             tion orders allow an agriculture industry (e.g., livestock) to assess a charge on
                             the product to be used for conservation and environmental activities. These
                             marketing and promotion orders generate needed funds for an activity and can
                             provide financial support  for all its producers (e.g., growers).  In implement-
                             ing a marketing and promotion order (i.e., check-off program) through the
                             Secretary of Agriculture, additional revenue can be generated to. support
                             needed nutrient management practices, while maintaining a level playing field
                             throughout the industry.                                               '•

                                                                 i          •       ..  •  .  -        i
                             Strategic Issue #6:  Data Coordination
                                                                                '  •       •'       i
                             Several kinds of data are useful in assessing and managing the water quality
                             impacts of AFOs. Ambient water quality information allows the identification
                             of water quality impacts that may be attributable to AFOs. Aggregate infor-
                             mation about multiple AFOs can be used to target both regulatory and volun-
                             tary activities, including watershed-level planning.  Finally, information about
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

 individual AFOs is helpful for those assisting owners and operators in devel-
 oping CNMPs, identifying facilities that may be subject to the regulatory
 program, and for the development and implementation of watershed-level
 plans. These three kinds of data are available from multiple sources, includ-
 ing USDA, EPA, USGS, Army Corps of Engineers, and State agencies.

 Recently, questions have been raised regarding the public availability of some
 types of information related to AFOs—in particular, data related to individual
 AFOs used by USDA to assist in conservation planning.  USDA and EPA
 affirm the need to protect the relationship of trust that exists between farmers
 and USDA and as characterized by Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman's
 call to "maintain a firewall between voluntary and regulatory programs." On
 May 22, 1998, NRCS issued a policy statement that prohibits the release of
 AFO-specific information in conservation plans and case files that has been
 developed through voluntary technical and financial assistance programs.  In
 accordance with EPA regulations, most information on individual facilities
 collected or generated as part of the NPDES program is publicly available.

 Desired Outcome

 USD A/EPA coordination on data sharing that protects the trust relationship
 between USDA and farmers and provides regulatory authorities with informa-
 tion that is useful in protecting water quality.

 Actions                             '

Joint Policy Statement on Data Coordination - EPA and USDA will develop a
joint policy statement on information coordination.  Both agencies agree to
 review existing policies and guidance based on the joint policy statement.

 Water Quality Inventory Enhancements - EPA, in cooperation with States, will
 identify ways to improve the 305(b) Water Quality Inventory to better report
 the water quality impacts caused by .AFOs.

 Cost-Benefit Methodology - EPA and USDA will develop a joint evaluation of
the costs and benefits of this Strategy and options considered in developing
revised CAFO regulations. USDA and EPA will convene an interagency
economic analysis work group to develop the economic analysis methodology
 and data that may be used in the analysis.                               -^

CAFO Inventory - To ensure a program that is consistent with NPDES, pro
gram activities, EPA will evaluate the need to develop an inventory
ties subject to regulatory activities.
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

Strategic Issue #7:  Performance Measures and Accountability


USDA and EPA believe that it is critical to establish performance measures to
gauge success in implementing this Strategy and meeting relevant goals in
each agency's strategic plan established under the Government Performance
and Results Act. Three types of performance measures are important. First,
USDA and EPA are committed to completing each of the actions described
under the strategic issues.  Second, there are a number of programmatic
activities (e.g., number of AFOs with CNMPs, number of CAFOs covered by
NPDES permits, percent of CAFOs in compliance) that we will evaluate to
measure the level of activity being devoted to addressing water quality im-
pacts from AFOs.  Finally, and most importantly, USDA and EPA will work
closely with the States to develop appropriate environmental outcome mea-
sures to measure our progress in implementing this Strategy.

USD A and EPA recognize that measurement of AFO progress in addressing
water quality issues will take time for two reasons:  (1) it will take time to
develop appropriate measures; and (2) it will take time for water quality
progress to be achieved (maybe decades in some watersheds).

Desired Outcomes

• An effective performance measurement system for AFOs that includes
  appropriate programmatic output and environmental outcomes that allows
  USDA, EPA, States, Tribes, and other stakeholders to determine the level of
  success and to improve AFO-related programs.

• Provide appropriate flexibility for States and Tribes to achieve the national
  performance expectation.


Performance Measurement - USDA, EPA, States, Tribes, and other Federal
agencies will establish a joint work group to develop a coordinated set of
programmatic outputs and environmental outcome measures for this Strategy,
determine how to effectively utilize information tools (e.g., Census of Agricul-
ture, National Water Quality Inventory, Natural Resource Inventory), and
identify a baseline against which to measure performance. The work group
will seek input from SWCDs and other stakeholders and will develop a perfor-
mance measurement approach for AFOs by January 2000.
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

 Watershed Nutrient Load Estimates - USDA and EPA will estimate by January
 2000 a baseline of nutrient loads to watersheds with potential excess nutrients
 from animal manure and wastewater using watershed adjusted data from
 fertilizer sales, USGS/EPA nutrient loading analysis, Census of Agriculture,
 permit limits, and other estimates.       ;
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

                             6.0 Roles
The successful implementation of this Strategy calls for a number of individu-
als and organizations to fulfill several key roles. These key roles are de-
scribed in the following paragraphs.

• Federal Government - It is the Federal Government's role to establish
  minimum national expectations, technical standards, and regulatory require-
  ments for AFOs, and to help provide the tools to achieve these expectations,
  standards, and requirements. EPA, through the CWA, Coastal Zone Act
  Reauthorization Amendments, and the Safe Drinking Water Act, is charged
  with setting the regulatory responsibilities, including permitting, compli-
  ance assurance, and enforcement, that relate to AFOs. USDA, through
  conservation, research, and education provisions of the Farm Bill and other
  legislation, is largely responsible for programs that help AFOs meet perfor-
  mance expectations through voluntary efforts. There are many ways  that
  USDA, EPA, and other Federal agencies can work together to assist animal
  producers and the public, including collaboration on research, education,
  technical assistance, and financial assistance. USDA and EPA, in particu-
  lar, will work closely and cooperatively, to ensure that the goals and expec-
  tations of this Strategy are met and its guiding principles are reflected in our
  combined and independent activities.

• State/Tribal Government - State and Tribal governments often have the
  responsibility for implementing water resource protection programs.  Most
  States and Tribes will have a key role in developing comprehensive plans
  for ensuring that appropriate voluntary and regulatory programs are coordi-
  nated and implemented to achieve the national goal and performance
  expectation of this Strategy. For example, 43 States and the Virgin Islands
  are authorized to implement the current CWA provisions that affect CAFOs.
  States and Tribes also implement various nonpoint source control programs,
  including cost-share programs and, in cooperation with local governments,
  drinking water source protection programs. State Land-Grant Universities
  are the primary mechanism to deliver agricultural research and extension
  programs. State, Tribal, and Federal governments, and private sector
  partners, work together to ensure that the actions taken on the ground are
  appropriate and cost-effective. State and Tribal  governments also help
  determine where water quality and public health protection must be en-
  hanced beyond the minimum performance expectations established through
  Federal programs.

 • Local Government - Local governments can provide incentives for AFO
   owners and operators to address water quality and public concerns and
   often deal with local issues such as siting and odor.  SWCDs and States are
  key partners in implementing environmental and conservation programs.
 USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

   Individual Producers - No matter what size an operation or from what
   management activity, the release of pollutants to surface or groundwater
   from an AFO is to be avoided. It is the responsibility of individual owners
   and operators, and the companies and industries they are involved with, to
   minimize the release of pollutants from AFOs. Every operation should be
   implementing a CNMP that minimizes the risks of pollution.

   Integrators - Integrators should ensure that their contract growers are
   environmentally responsible.  Feed mills and processing plants should
   incorporate the environmental impacts of the dissociated production opera-
   tions into the siting and sizing of their plants.  Integrators can also help
   develop alternatives for manure use and transport.

   Livestock Industry - The livestock industry as a whole has an obligation to
   educate its members and to provide leadership to ensure that its practices do
   not adversely impact society or the environment. Many sectors of the
   livestock industry have shown leadership by moving forward to establish
   new, industry-led efforts to improve the siting and management of AFOs,
   and to provide training to operators. This leadership must continue and be

   Other Private Sector - The private sector can continue to contribute to
   new technologies and innovative strategies that capitalize on the nutrient
   and energy value of animal manure and related by-products of AFOs. This
   would include vendors and consultants of animal manure treatment and
   management systems. Various organizations, including livestock organiza-
   tions and AFO-related companies, provide educational programs to inform
   AFO owners and operators about Federal and State goals, standards,  rules,
   and permitting processes, and to teach them  how they can protect environ-
   mental quality and comply with regulatory provisions. The agricultural and
   environmental consulting community can also respond by helping to ensure
   that appropriate technical resources are available to assist with development
   of CNMPs for producers. Fertilizer producers and dealers can provide
   information on integrating use of manure and other nutrient sources to
   ensure appropriate nutrient use.

   Research and Educational Institutions - Public and private research
   organizations provide much of the knowledge  and technology to better
   manage and utilize manure and related by-products of livestock production.
   USDA's and EPA's research, education, and technical assistance programs
   will provide leadership in developing new and innovative technologies for
   AFOs and analyzing their effectiveness.
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy

                               Watershed or Community Responsibilities - Every watershed where the
                               concentration of AFOs is a potential source of pollution should have a
                               watershed- or area-wide plan that helps AFO owners, operators, and others
                               to work together to prevent pollution. Such planning is particularly impor-
                               tant in areas where problems exist, such as where the quantity of manure
                               and nutrients produced by AFOs exceeds what can be safely applied to land
                               to meet crop needs. Locally led watershed efforts promote coordinated and
                               integrated decision making to find sound, locally acceptable ways to
                               achieve environmental quality.

                               Environmental Groups - Environmental groups and grass-roots organiza-
                               tions play an important role in focusing public attention on environmental
                               concerns with respect to animal production activities. Environmental
                               groups can provide reports about specific environmental quality concerns
                               and can educate its members, the general public, the agricultural commu-
                               nity, and the media about important environmental concerns at the local,
                               State, and national level.                                           ,
USDA-EPA Unified National AFO Strategy


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prohibit discrimination in their
programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, or disability. Additionally, discrimination on
the basis of political beliefs and marital or family status is also prohibited by statutes enforced by USDA. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.;
Parsons with disabilities wtio require alternative means for communication of program information1 (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact
the USDA's Target Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD) or the EPA Office of Civil Rights at (202) 260-4575.
To file a complaint of discrimination to USDA, write or call:

  USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights
  Room 326-W, Whitten Building
  14th and Independence Avenue, SW
  Washington, DC 20250-9410
  (302) 720-5964 (voice and TDD)

  USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
To file a complaint of discrimination to EPA, write or call:

  EPA, Office of Civil Rights
  401 M St. SW
  Washington, DC 20460
  (202) 260-4575 (voice) or (202) 260-3658 (TTY).