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Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO)

Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) confine a large number of livestock to a small area, usually in buildings. CAFOs produce large amounts of hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and manure which can negatively impact human health and the environment if not managed properly. Under County Code 116, CAFOs are permitted and inspected by the Department of Health to ensure surface and groundwater are not being impacted.

In most cases, the Department of Health does not address issues related to smaller livestock operations unless a direct public health threat exists. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) is responsible for regulating these facilities.

  • What is a CAFO?

    A CAFO is any property or adjacent properties owned by the same person that confines 1,000 animals for at least 45 days in a 12 month period of time. The confinement area does not contain sufficient growing vegetation to sustain the animals. Any combination of the animal numbers, types, and sizes below that equals or exceeds 1,000 animals is considered a CAFO:

    • 700 mature dairy cows whether milked or dry,
    • 1,000 beef cattle or heifers,
    • 2,500 swine weighing more than 55 pounds,
    • 10,000 swine weighing less than 55 pounds,
    • 30,000 ducks (other than properties that use liquid manure systems),
    • 5,000 ducks (properties using liquid manure systems),
    • 30,000 chickens (properties using liquid manure handling systems),
    • 125,000 chickens except for layers (other than properties using liquid manure handling systems),
    • 82,000 laying hens (other than properties using liquid manure handling systems),
    • 1,000 veal calves,
    • 500 horses,
    • 10,000 sheep or lambs, or
    • 55,000 turkeys.
  • My operation meets the definition of a CAFO. How do I apply for a permit?

    The following must be submitted to the Department of Health:

    The applicant’s history of compliance with federal, state, and county laws is considered during the permit approval process. The Department of Health may require site-specific stipulations as part of the permit approval.

    Permits are good for 5 years and are renewed at the same time the IDEM permit is renewed.

St. Joseph County Confined Feeding Operations Map