HARRISBURG, Pa. — With the recent announcement of revised standard animal weights for nutrient management going into effect on Oct. 1, 2019, some livestock growers are likely to be newly classified as CAOs or CAFOs, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

If your operation isn’t currently defined as a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO), but you think this might change with the new standard weights, get the ball rolling now on your nutrient management plan. Here’s what to do:

First, contact a certified commercial nutrient management specialist. This professional will help you determine whether your operation will be defined as a CAFO. You can find a certified nutrient management specialist at PAPlants.

Concentrated Animal Operations (CAOs) have more than 2,000 pounds of animal weight (animal equivalent units, or AEUs) per acre of ground available for manure application. CAFOs have greater than 1,000 AEUs; are CAOs with greater than 300 AEUs; or are an operation that meets a specific head count as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency, regardless of the amount of acres available to spread manure.

Second, if your operation is defined as a CAFO, start your nutrient management plan now.

When you submit your CAFO permit application to the DEP — the deadline is April 1, 2019 — it must include a nutrient management plan that has been approved by your county conservation district office. Both the permit application and the plan are due April 1.

Third, to make sure you get conservation district approval in time, DEP strongly recommends submitting your nutrient management plan to your county conservation district office by Oct 8.

It typically takes three months from plan submission to conservation district approval, but operators who are new to nutrient management plans typically need more time to ensure their plan is technically complete.

Start now and follow these steps to get permit approval by Oct. 1, 2019, covering crop years 2020-2022 (Oct. 1, 2019-Sept. 30, 2022).

For more information, contact your county conservation district office; a certified nutrient management specialist; or the DEP Bureau of Clean Water at 717-787-6744. Also see DEP’s FAQ on nutrient management standard animal weights and CAFOs.