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