Extension Ag Update
September/October 2001
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Livestock Producers Need To Be Aware of Construction Regulations

John Church, Natural Resource Educator, and Jim Endress, Farm Business Educator, Rockford Extension Center, 815-397-7714

Most Illinois livestock producers have heard something about new state regulations adopted in the 1990’s, which govern livestock waste management and related construction. However, it has become rather evident since the implementation of the act and its more recent amendments, that many producers are not adequately aware of the guidelines that may apply to their farm or the procedures to follow to comply with the regulations. Recent meetings with producers, agency staff, and legislators have indicated there is still a lack of understanding of the rules, their complexity and how to comply.

One of the main points that producers need to understand is that if their current facility is to be remodeled or a new one built, they probably will need a permit from the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA), regardless of the size of the operation. Secondly, it is very important for producers to allow sufficient time between applying for a permit and for construction to start. A "Notification of Intent" to construct application must be filed with IDOA. Producers should be planning well ahead, probably at least six months to a year as a minimum, to help insure their desired project start time. Although response time from IDOA officials has been good, the complete permitting process can take at least several months. Some projects may require public hearings before a permit is issued. Currently, IDOA averages about 10 applications per month. Some of the rules’ application is based on total number of animal units in the operation. However, another point for producers to remember is that the number of animal units is based on a cumulative number of animals at all their facility sites, not just at the location of new construction or remodeling. Also, for producers required to have a livestock waste management plan, the plan now must include phosphorous as well as nitrogen management.

These are just a few general issues, but producers should become familiar with how the regulations affect their individual operations. In some cases, the rules may protect farmers from unnecessary nuisance complaints. Producers with questions or desiring a permit or a complete set of rules can contact the IDOA Bureau of Environmental Programs, State Fairgrounds, PO Box 19281, Springfield, IL 62794. The main point to remember is to plan well ahead to investigate and apply for a permit, if needed, to avoid frustrating and costly construction delays.