Newspaper Page Text
LANCASTER CONSERVATION DISTRICT
DEAR FARM OPERATOR,
Is your farm a Concentrated Animal Operation (CAO)?
If so, you need to act soon in order to be in compliance with Pennsylvania’s Nutrient Management Act (also known as
On Oct 1, 1997, Pennsylvania’s regulations for the Nutrient Management Act went into effect Under this law, operators of farms fitting the
definition of a “CAO” are to develop, submit, and implement an approved Act 6 Nutrient Management Plan. The law states that operators of CAOs
are to submit these nutrient management plans to the county conservation district for approval by Oct. 1, 1998.
A CAO is defined as a farm having an animal denis ty of greater than 2,ooopounds of live animal weight per acre of owned and rented land used
for manure application.
The purpose of this letter is to remind producers about this law and to offer assistance to affected farmers in complying with the law.
On this page is a '‘Nutrient Management Information Form.” This form is to be completed and returned to the Lancaster County Conserva
tion District by Oct 1, 1998.
By filling out this form, you will be helping to demonstrate the agricultural industry’s support for water quality improvement programs, while at
the same time assuring that you are in compliance with this law.
If you operate a CAO, supplying this information will document your farm’s intent to comply with this law. This information sheet will be used
by the county conservation district to support you and your efforts to comply with the Nutrient Management Act
If your farm is not a CAO, this information will document your lower animal denisty and demonstrate that you are not mandated at this lime to
participate under the law.
Owners of CAOs not in compliance, and who indicate no intent to comply with the law, may face financial pentaltics by the commonwealth of
The farm community was very active in the development of the Nutrient Management Act program. This program has been designed with the
understanding that the agricultural community will come forward to comply as they are required.
It is important that the agricultural community be responsive in fulfilling its responsibilities under this law. If this law is found to be unsuccessful
in getting farmers to participate, a more aggressive approach may be imposed by the federal or state government to address manure and fertilizer
practices associated with animal agriculture.
Please note that, while many farmers have developed and implemented nutrient management plans in the past, only those plans written by a cer
tified nutrient management specialist after Oct. 1,1997, that were made to meet Act 6 standards, and were approved by a conservation dis
trict, will bring a farming operation into compliance with Pennsylvania's Nutrient Management Act.
Farmers with existing plans are urged to have their plans reviewed and updated to meet Act 6 standards.
There are no religious exemptions provided under Act 6.
If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Kevin Seibert or Ben Ehrhart, nutrient management specialists, at the Lancaster
County Conservation District
The conservation district is available to assist and support you in any way that we can, in your efforts to comply with this law.
We will gladly assist you with your animal density calculation, provide you with the names of certified nutrient management planners, help you
to obtain any available cost-share for plan development and implementation, and help you in understanding the requirements of the law and any
other aspects of the program.
We are sincerely interested in seeing this program be a success in protecting our local water quality, and in protecting the reputation of the agricul
tural community as it demonstrates that it is responsive to participating in efforts to protect our water resources.
Thank you in advance for your efforts in complying with the Nutrient Management Act
Room 6, Farm and Home Center. 1383 Arcadia Road, Lancaster PA 17601 TELEPHONE (717) 299-5361
Calculate Your Farm’s Livestock Density
VERNON ACHENBACH JR. Under the state Nutrient Man-
Lancaster Farming Staff agement Act, those livestock oper-
HARRISBURG (Dauphin ations that have more than 2 “Ani-
Co.) Pennsylvania’s livestock mal Equivalent Units” (AEUs) per
fanners need to know whether acre of land available to receive
their operations arc considered manure are CAOs considered
“concentrated animal operations" potentially environmentally risky
(CAO) under the state Nutrient operations, and thus required to
Management Act, in order to be develop and file a nutrient man
sure to file a mandatory nutrient agement plan,
management plan before the Oct. 1 Simply, a management plan
deadline. describes the farm operation and
The law requires existing CAOs how the manure is to be managed
to file a plan by that date or face to prevent pollution of surrounding
possible penalties. ground and surface water.
Also, in order to receive 75-per- Deciding whether a livestock
cent cost sharing for plan develop- operation falls within the defini
ment, the determination of being a tion of being a CAO is a little more
CAO or not is neccssaty. tricky, because a fanner, consul-
Because the nature of the real tant, or official has to calculate the
world is that it most often doesn’t farm’s AEUs, and the acrege of
fit well into neat, easy descrip- land available,
lions, it has become necessary to The easiest of the two to figure
develop some tool for calculating out is the number of acres of land
how much manure pollution- available to receive manure. It has
potential a livestock operation has. to be cropland, hay land or pasture-
That tool is a calculation of ani- land. It can not be forestland or
mal density used as an indicator farmstead (lawn area around farm-
Yours for a better environment.
Nutrient Management Specialist
Nutrient Management Specialist
That land must also be under
direct control of the farm operator.
Calculating AEUs is not really
all that difficult, but does require
some use of factual data from the
AEUs are determined based on
the farm’s annual livestock
To determine number of AEUs,
take the number of animals per
species, multiply it by the average
weight of those animals in pounds,
divide by 1,000 pounds (one
AEU), multiply it by the number of
days the animals are actually on
the farm producing manure, then
divided by 365 (days).
Total AEUs for each type of
animal - (number of animals)
x (average animal weight in
pounds) + 1,000 x (number of
average animal production
days per year) - 165
/mwn! fjj'jjtAmWt'ffjrji r *\v4 r jncvv i v’t\ '
Sept. 5, 1998 A/l
(Continued from Pago A 1)
the law has given existing high-density opera
tions one year to submit plans for approval.
Under the law, those farms requiring plans are
those with a calcualted “animal equivalent unit
per acre" density of more than “2.”
In Pennsylvania, an animal equivalent unit
(AEU) is 1,000 pounds, livewcight, of any lives
tock. Therefore any farm with mote than 2,000
pounds of animals per acre of land that can
receive manure as a crop nutrient and soil
amendment must file an official plan.
Just because a farm has a nutrient management
plan doesn’t mean it is an official nutrient man
Those plans created under the Chesapeake
Bay Program, through local municipal require
ments, or to satisfy a lender’s requirements, do
An official plan needs to be made.
However, if a livestock operation has an exist
ing plan, the cost for conversion into an official
plan shouldn’t cost much.
To help farmets do their own calculations to
determine if their operation is required to have a
plan, conservation districts can either do the cal
culations for farmers (based mi information pro
vided by the farm operator), or provide work
sheets for the farmer to do die calculations for
Penn State Extension offices should be able to
provide help as well, if not the worksheets.
The calculations are designed to provide a rea
sonable estimate of the water pollution potential
from animal manure production, based on the
number and sizes of animals being raised.
Since the raising of animals implies that the
animals will grow over time, the calculations
take into account groupings of animals on the
farm and the average weights.
For example, if an 100-acre farm has 200
catde, that doesn’t mean it has 2 AEUs, but it
could. It depends on the typical animal weight on
If the example farm .typically had 200
1,200-pound beef cattle on feed, it would defi
nitely be interpreted to be greater than 2 AEtJs
For situations where a variety of species exist,
each species should be handled separately to gain
estimates of animal weight; the same holds true
within species for the subgroupings, such as with
farrowing sows and feeder pigs.
The reminder to existing CAOs about filing a
nutrient management plan is being made because
of the upcoming deadline and because Pennsyl
vania’s nutrient management plan is being chal
lenged by federal regulations by the U.S. Envir
onmental Protection Agency.
The U.S. EPA has its own national strategy fra
pushing states into adopting nutrient manage
ment laws and practices. There are some differ
ences between what Pennsylvania law is, and
what the EPA has been pushing.
Instead of using the term CAO, the EPA
instead calls high-density livestock operations
“CAFCTs, which stands fra “concentrated ani
mal feeding operation.”
Instead of calculating animal equivalent units
the same way, the federal unit is different.
Pennsylvania’s proposal to comply with the
EPA CAFO strategy has been available to the
general public for more than a month, and the
original comment deadline was extended until
One of the main thrusts of the Pennsylvania
CAFO-compliance proposal is to issue NPDES
(National Pollution Discharge Elimination Sys
The permits have been required for various
work, especially earth moving activities that dis
turb 5 acres or more.
However, the NPDES aspect of the proposal is
somewhat strange, because farming operations
have always been considered non-point dis
charge sources of nutrients, and NPDES permits
were created for point-source operations (i.e.
those with pipes discharging waste water into
As part of the proposal, a modified NPDES
permit would be required for all Pennsylvania
farms requiring a nutrient management plan.
(Turn to Pago ASS)