Publications: Animal Feeding Operations

Clarifying NPDES Requirements for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

Terence J. Centner Professor of Agriculture and Applied Economics University of Georgia

The Clean Water Act of 1972 sought to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of our nation’s waters.  Central to achieving the Act’s goals was a permitting system prohibiting discharges of pollutants from point sources into navigable waters except as authorized by a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.  Point sources are defined to include discernable, confined, and discrete conveyances including concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).  In the wake of an April 14, 2003 CAFO Rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and litigation over that rule in Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc. v. Environmental Protection Agency, there exists some uncertainty regarding the NPDES requirements for CAFOs.  This article discusses these requirements and clarifies what the NPDES permit requirements are for CAFOs.    Download this article. Posted: March 22, 2007

Governmental Oversight of Animal Feeding Operations

Terence J. Centner Professor of Agricultural & Applied Economics University of Georgia

Changes in animal production in the United States at animal feeding operations (AFOs) have been accompanied by concerns about those operations’ waste byproducts and production practices.  With the marked expansion of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and the problems associated with large numbers of animals in confined areas, a number of issues have attracted the attention of the public.  This article provides an overview of several production and environmental issues associated with concentrated animal production.  It provides information on conditions that have created public dissatisfaction with existing regulatory efforts and then addresses the issue of water contamination, commencing with an analysis of the evidence cited in justification of the new federal water quality regulations.  This article also looks at the voluntary efforts employed by producers to control environmental problems and new federal regulations involving mandatory controls for some producers.  It then considers the administration and enforcement of CAFO regulations, noting that the enforcement of existing regulations might obviate the need for additional controls.    Download this article. Posted Apr. 8, 2003.