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Indiana Department of Environmental Management

Land Quality in Indiana

Land Quality > Confined Feeding Operations (CFOs) Confined Feeding Operations (CFOs)

Table of Contents

Program Guidance

Forms and Documents

The CFO/CAFO Application Packet, CFO /CAFO state forms, operating record forms, and compliance information forms are available on the IDEM Forms page. A complete CFO Record Book is available by request from the CFO Permits Staff or the CFO Compliance Staff.


Important Links

Confined Feeding Operations: What Are They?

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. Livestock markets and sale barns are generally excluded.

In Indiana, an animal feeding operation with 300 or more cattle, 600 or more swine or sheep, 30,000 or more poultry, or 500 horses in confinement is a CFO. A person must request and receive IDEM approval before starting construction of a CFO, or starting expansion of a CFO to increase animal population or manure storage capacity.

What is the Difference Between CFO and CAFO?

The terms CFO and CAFO relate to the size of the CFO. A Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) is a CFO that meets the threshold animal numbers for a large CAFO in the chart below. Many of the program’s requirements apply to CFOs of all sizes. Some requirements apply only to CAFOs.

CAFO Threshold Numbers:

  • 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
  • 5,000 ducks with a liquid manure handling system

What Type of Approval do CFOs Require?

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.

CFOs in Indiana must have either a CFO Approval or a NPDES CAFO Individual Permit, but not both. A CFO or CAFO that does not discharge may elect to seek approval under a NPDES CAFO Individual Permit.

CFO/CAFO Environmental Issues

The animals raised in confined feeding operations produce manure and wastewater which is collected and stored in pits, tanks, lagoons and other storage devices. The manure is then applied to area fields as fertilizer. When stored and applied properly, this beneficial reuse provides a natural source of nutrients for crop production. It also lessens the need for fuel and other resources that are used in the production of commercial fertilizer.

Confined feeding operations, however, can also pose environmental concerns, including the following:

  • Manure can leak or spill from storage pits, lagoons or tanks
  • Improper application of manure to the land can impair surface or ground water quality

The IDEM CFO/CAFO approval/permit program is based on the Confined Feeding Control Law administered through regulations adopted under the Water Pollution Control Board. The focus of the regulations is to protect water quality. The program is intended to provide an oversight process to assure that waste storage structures are designed, constructed and maintained to be structurally sound and that manure is handled and land applied in an environmentally acceptable manner.

What IDEM Regulates
  • Facility setbacks from streams, wells, roads, property boundaries, and residences
  • Manure handling and storage
  • Facility design and construction
  • Manure application rates and setbacks
  • Monitoring and record keeping
  • Storm water run-off
  • Closure of manure storage structures
What IDEM Does Not Regulate
  • Property Values
  • Public Road Conditions
  • Place Where CFOs and CAFOs Locate
  • Disposal of Dead Animals (BOAH)
  • Groundwater Use
  • Traffic
  • Odors
  • Vectors

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 approval is needed for new confined feeding operations, expansions of existing confined feeding operations, and for existing animal feeding operations that have water quality violations.

IDEM will accept written public comments for 33 days following the date of the applicant mailing to the notified parties. During this period, any interested parties may submit written comments on the approval application.

IDEM evaluates comments as they relate to the application’s compliance with all applicable requirements. IDEM approves or denies the application based on fulfillment of the rule requirements. While environmental concerns may have an effect on an application, IDEM may not consider traffic, property values, or local zoning when considering an application.

For more detailed information pertaining to CFO Approval Requirements, please refer to the CFO Guidance Manual [PDF].

Common Questions and Answers about CAFOs in Indiana

How many CAFOs are there in Indiana?

There are approximately 700 CAFO-sized CFOs in the state. This represents 38 percent of the IDEM regulated farms.

What percentage of the animals do the CAFOs produce?

IDEM estimates they produce 83 percent of the animals at regulated farms.

How do local land use requirements affect IDEMs jurisdiction over approving a new CFO/CAFO farm?

IDEM must perform the process that state law and regulations have provided. IDEMs approval does not relieve the farm from complying with any local zoning requirements.

I am a CAFO sized farm under the new rule, and have less than 120 days storage for some of my waste structures. Can I employ the Commissioner’s case-by-case approval option for frozen or snow covered ground spreading?

CAFOs are not eligible for approval under 327 IAC 19-14-4(i), which is limited to small CFOs with 120 days or less storage, or through an alternate compliance approach under 327 IAC 19-5-1 because of the explicit prohibition under 327 IAC 19-14-4(e). If you feel that you need an approval to surface apply to frozen or snow-covered ground, your only option is to apply for a NPDES CAFO Individual Permit.

Please note that injection or incorporation of manure into the soil on the same day is not considered surface application and is not prohibited.

If you have an emergency that creates an immediate need to surface apply manure to frozen or snow-covered ground due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control, contact IDEM for assistance.

Will I need to public notice in the newspaper all applications, modifications, or changes to operating plans under the CFO rule?

No, the public comment periods and notifications for all sized farms under the CFO rule require notification to neighbors within ½ mile and county officials but not newspaper notifications for CFO Approvals. Farms choosing NPDES Individual coverage will be required to do additional public notice in a newspaper for permit applications, modification requests, and changes to nutrient management plans, etc.

I am seeing solid manure piled in fields in my neighborhood. What are the rules on placing solid manure piles in fields?

Staging of solid manure, most generally poultry manure, in crop or pasture fields is governed under the CFO rule, 327 IAC 19 if the manure comes strictly from a regulated CFO/CAFO operation. If the manure comes from a non-regulated, unknown, or multiple sources, it would be regulated under the Fertilizer Rule, 355 IAC 8.

Under either of these rules, the manure stockpile must be land applied within 72 hours. If left for more than 72 hours, it must be bermed or covered. Bermed or covered staged manure must be land applied within 90 days. The staged manure must meet setbacks as defined in the Rules. Solid manure may not be staged in standing water, floodways, or waterways.

For Additional Information

  • IDEM Toll Free Number: (800) 451-6027, then give the operator the listed extension number
  • Confined Feeding Operation Approval Questions: (317) 232-4473
  • Compliance Questions: (317) 308-3016