The federal Environmental Protection Agency says seven confined animal feedlot operations, or CAFOs, in the region are out of compliance with the Clean Water Act. One of them is in Nebraska, while the others are in Iowa and Kansas.
The E-P-A’s Chris Whitley says the operators are all being notified and most of them are working with the agency to try and get back into compliance and follow the rules.
“The compliance orders are simply a first step of enforcement that EPA has at its disposal,” Whitley says. “They don’t involve fines. They are simply, as the name implies, it’s an order to put your operation into compliance with the laws and regulations.”
The CAFO in Nebraska that’s being notified is Knox County Feeders, in Bloomfield, in the northeast corner of the state.
Whitley says, for the most part, feedlot operators are willing to do the right thing and follow the rules but sometimes there are misunderstandings on what the requirements demand. Farmers, he says, are among the best environmental stewards out there.
“We all understand the importance of protecting water resources,” Whitley says. “The confusion comes from time to time about what the regulations exactly require of a producer and how a producer has to go about meeting those requirements. That’s what we’re here for, as a resource.”
He says the EPA would much rather work proactively with producers to make sure they’re in compliance rather than to have to come in with an enforcement action.
The EPA says Knox County Feeders, an open beef feedlot, failed to sample its manure, process wastewater and land application areas as required by the terms of its Nutrient Management Plan. It was also unable to provide adequate records associated with its land applications. The feedlot has a permitted capacity of 5,000 cattle.