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Indiana Department of Environmental Management

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Table of Contents: Land Quality

Confined Feeding Approval

No one may start construction of a confined feeding operation or expansion without the prior approval of IDEM. Confined feeding is the raising of animals for food, fur, or recreation in lots, pens, ponds, sheds or buildings where they are confined, fed and maintained for at least 45 days during any year, and where there is no ground cover or vegetation present over at least half of the animals' confinement area.

Any new animal feeding operation (AFO) designed to confine at least 300 cattle, 600 swine or sheep, or 30,000 fowl in lots, pens, ponds, sheds or buildings where they are fed and maintained for at least 45 days during any year, must first be approved by IDEM before construction and operation. Approvals are also required for existing operations expanding to confine at least the above mentioned numbers of animals. AFOs are divided into two categories according to the size of the operations, based on the maximum number of confined animals. Confined feeding operations (CFOs) are the smaller of the two categories. Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are farms with larger animal thresholds. CFOs and CAFOs are described in further detail below.

Additional information is provided on IDEM’s Web site for Confined Feeding Operations and the Animal Feeding Operations Fact Sheet is available on the IDEM Fact Sheets page.

Confined Feeding Operations (CFOs)

The Indiana Administrative Code (327 IAC 19-2-7) defines a confined feeding operation as a site where animals are confined and the following conditions apply:

  • The animals are confined for 45 days or more of a year, consecutive or nonconsecutive;
  • The confinement area is covered with less than 50% vegetation; and,
  • The number of confined feeding animals exceeds:
    • 300 cattle;
    • 600 swine;
    • 600 sheep;
    • 30,000 fowl; or
  • An animal feeding operation that causes a violation of:
    • water pollution control laws;
    • any rules of the water pollution control board; or
    • The confined feeding statute (found under the Indiana Code, IC 13-18-10).

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)

A CFO is considered a CAFO if the number of animals in confinement at the operation exceeds:

  • 700 mature dairy cows;
  • 1,000 veal calves;
  • 1,000 cattle other than mature dairy cows;
  • 2,500 swine above 55 pounds;
  • 10,000 swine less than 55 pounds;
  • 500 horses;
  • 10,000 sheep or lambs;
  • 55,000 turkeys;
  • 30,000 laying hens or broilers with a liquid manure handling system;
  • 125,000 broilers with a solid manure handling system;
  • 82,000 laying hens with a solid manure handling system;
  • 30,000 ducks with a solid manure handling system; or
  • 5,000 ducks with a liquid manure handling system.

No one may start construction of a CAFO or expansion without the prior approval from IDEM.

As of July 1, 2012, the Confined Feeding Program has two types of approvals:

  1. CFOs or CAFO-sized CFOs that do not discharge manure or pollutant-bearing water need a CFO Approval under 327 IAC 19 [PDF]. A CFO Approval will have slightly different requirements for a CFO versus a CAFO based on the rule requirements that apply specifically to CAFOs.
  2. CFOs and CAFO-sized CFOs that discharge manure or pollutant-bearing water to waters of the state must have a NPDES CAFO Individual Permit under 327 IAC 15-16 [PDF]. The CAFO rule incorporates by reference the federal NPDES CAFO regulations.

IDEM CFO/CAFO Approval Requirements

Confined Feeding Operation Fact: No one may start construction of a confined feeding operation or expansion without the prior approval of IDEM.

IDEM is responsible for reviewing approval applications for confined feeding operations. An application is needed for new confined feeding operations, expansions of existing confined feeding operations, and for existing animal feeding operations that must seek approval due to water quality violations.

Before submitting your application, it is highly recommended that you review the IDEM Office of Land Quality CFO Guidance Manual [PDF] which provides a thorough explanation of approval requirements for construction and operation of a confined feeding operation. Other helpful documents also are available on the IDEM Confined Feeding Operations page.

CFO Approval Applications

Three copies, one of which may be electronic, of the following must be included in the application and sent to IDEM for approval (refer to the CFO Guidance Manual [PDF] for additional information):

  1. A completed application on a form provided by IDEM (refer to the CFO/CAFO Application Packet, available on the IDEM Forms page).
  2. A plot map.
  3. A farmstead plan.
  4. A waste management system drawing.
  5. A manure management plan.
  6. Soil and seasonal water table information obtained from a number of test holes beneath the proposed structures that adequately characterize the soil and water table. The testing must be conducted by a certified soil scientist, a certified geologist, or an engineer registered in Indiana. The test holes must be:
    1. At least 2 feet below the base of the storage structure for a concrete waste storage structure; and
    2. At least 5 feet below the lowest base of earthen manure storage structures except in karst topography where at least one test hole must go 10 feet below the base of the storage structure or to bedrock, whichever is shallower.
    3. The number of test holes for earthen solid manure storage structures must be no less than 2 holes for structures up to 1 acre in size, then an additional hole for each additional half acre.
    4. The number of test holes for liquid manure storage structures must be no less than 2 holes for structures up to one-half acre then an additional hole for each additional half acre.
    5. The number of test holes for concrete solid manure storage structures must be no less than 2 holes regardless of size.
  7. If a proposed alternative to a specific requirement in this rule is used, a description is required indicating equivalent environmental and human health protection in accordance with 327 IAC 19-5 Alternate Design or Compliance Approach, and Innovative Technology.
  8. A fee of $100.
  9. A list of potentially affected parties which includes all owners and occupants of land within one-half mile of the manure storage structures, the county commissioners, and all owners and occupants of land that adjoins the parcel that is the subject of the permit application.
  10. A completed disclosure form regarding all pending environmental violations and any finally adjudicated or settled environmental violations within the 5 years that immediately precede the date of the application.
  11. A statement affirming that AFOs adjoining or contiguous to the CFO are not under common ownership. The rule language establishing this requirement does not describe what to do in instances where the statement is not true. If there are no AFOs adjoining or contiguous to your CFO, provide a statement to that effect. If AFOs adjoining or contiguous to your CFO are under common ownership, provide a statement identifying the AFOs and describing the common ownership. Additionally, the statement should indicate if the farm is already an IDEM approved CFO. The response to these items may determine whether the adjoining AFO will need to be incorporated into the CFO Approval.
  12. Copies of any waivers related to the reduction of applicable setbacks.
  13. Copies of all land use agreements for manure land application.
  14. To comply with 327 IAC 19-14-2, expanding CFOs must provide a certification that enough land is available for land application based on the application rate limitations specified in 327 IAC 19-14-3.

What to Expect

IDEM staff who are reviewing the applications will conduct an immediate completeness review. If deficiencies in the application are noted, a letter will be mailed within 30 days. When the notice of application deficiencies are mailed, the review is placed on hold until the applicant provides the requested information. Permit staff will also schedule a site visit to observe the proposed site and to inspect the existing operation if one exists. These visits are scheduled during the review period.

IDEM will accept written public comments for at least 33 days following the date of the applicant mailing to the notified parties. Because some applicants submit an incomplete application while they are still preparing the application in order to start the review process and public comment period, IDEM’s practice is to accept comments for at least 33 days after receiving a substantially complete application so that the public has the opportunity to review all aspects of the application. Generally, IDEM does not reject public comments at any point in the process, and will consider any new information up to the point that the decision is issued.

The IDEM decision to approve, deny, revoke, amend, require an approval or impose additional requirements is appealable. An appeal is initiated by filing a written petition for administrative review with the Office of Environmental Adjudication (OEA) within 18 days after the mailing date of the decision.

CFO construction approvals issued on or after July 1, 2014 allow construction to begin at any time during the five-year term of the approval and allow the construction approval to be renewed to complete construction.

CFO construction approvals issued before July 1, 2014 require construction to begin within two years and to be completed within four years. A CFO with a construction approval issued before July 1, 2014 that has not already expired under the two year/four year deadlines in the approval may request an amendment to the approval to remove the two year/four year construction deadlines and to allow the construction approval to be renewed as described in the next question.

What's New?

U.S. EPA’s CAFO rule was final adopted on October 31, 2008. Current CAFO regulations are available on the U.S. EPA CAFO Rule History page.

For Additional Information

More information about the IDEM Confined Feeding approval program and how to obtain an application packet is available on the IDEM Confined Feeding Operations page. You can also contact the IDEM’s Confined Feeding Program at (800) 451-6027, ext. 2-4473 or 2-8736.