Recent manure spills in Northwest Iowa have brought renewed attention to the regulatory framework surrounding animal feeding operations (“AFOs”). Iowa law, as regulated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, recognizes two types of AFOs, confinements and open feedlots. The Iowa DNR is responsible for not only granting the permits necessary to approve construction of an AFO, they also provide the regulatory oversight of manure or nutrient management plans, land application requirements, and manure applicator certification.

The Iowa DNR provides this regulatory oversight to protect surface and groundwater resources. The size and scope of a particular AFO will directly impact the particular regulations that apply; however, all AFOs are required to follow basic regulations related to the land application of manure as well as the construction of new structures or the expansion of existing operations. Particular restrictions relate to separation distances from neighboring businesses, residences churches, schools, and public use areas.

Ongoing regulatory oversight is specifically provided by the Field Services and Compliance Bureau of the Iowa DNR. They review manure management and nutrient management plans, inspect earthen basins, inspect potential construction sites, and respond to manure, fertilizer, and chemical spills. Additionally, the Iowa DNRs Construction Permitting Section reviews all applications for new AFO construction permits. Lastly, the authority to issue the required federal permits as also been delegated to the Iowa DNR and can be accomplished through working with them.

The regulatory complexity surrounding AFOs in Iowa can be complex and time consuming. However, the Ag law attorneys at Goosmann Law Firm are here to assist you in this process.

For more information regarding regulatory guidelines surrounding animal feeding operations or Ag Law, contact the Goosmann Law Firm at or call 712-226-4000.

Photo Copyright: robig / 123RF Stock Photo

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