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Animal Feeding Operations (AFO) and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO

Animal Feeding Operations (AFO) and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines AFConfined FeedingOs as 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 otherwise seeking feed in pastures, fields, or on rangeland. There are approximately 450,000 AFOs in the United States.

A CAFO is another EPA term for a large concentrated AFO. A CAFO is an AFO with more than 1000 animal units (an animal unit is defined as an animal equivalent of 1000 pounds live weight and equates to 1000 head of beef cattle, 700 dairy cows, 2500 swine weighing more than 55 lbs, 125 thousand broiler chickens, or 82 thousand laying hens or pullets) confined on site for more than 45 days during the year. Any size AFO that discharges manure or wastewater into a natural or man-made ditch, stream or other waterway is defined as a CAFO, regardless of size. CAFOs are regulated by EPA under the Clean Water Act in both the 2003 and 2008 versions of the "CAFO" rule.

USDA’s goal is for AFO/CAFO owners and operators to take voluntary actions to minimize potential air and water pollutants from storage facilities, confinement areas, and land application areas. NRCS can help landowners achieve this goal by providing technical and in many cases financial assistance, for the adoption of practices that will protect our natural resources.

Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (CNMP)

The objective of a CNMP is to provide AFO owners/operators with a plan to manage manure and organic by-products by combining conservation practices and management activities into a conservation system that, when implemented, will control soil erosion.

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