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Although long considered a natural fertilizer that can benefit our soils, manure has a history of increased regulation in recent years based on potential impacts to water quality. The following explains how state and federal law regulates the production, storage and application of animal manure in Ohio.
Livestock Environmental Permitting Program
The Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Livestock Environmental Permitting (ODA) administers a permit program for Ohio’s largest confined livestock operations, or Concentrated Animal Feeding Facilities (CAFFs). Ohio Revised Code Chapter 903 and Ohio Administrative Code 901:10 contain the program’s legal provisions.
An owner must obtain a “permit to install” and a “permit to operate” from ODA before operating a CAFF. The permit requirement applies to a CAFF that houses any of the following, at a minimum:
- 700 mature dairy cows
- 2,500 hogs over 55 pounds
- 10,000 baby pigs under 55 pounds
- 82,000 laying hens
- 125,000 pullets or broilers
- 1,000 head of beef animals of any size
- 500 horses
- 10,000 sheep or lambs
- 55,000 turkeys
Related to manure, obtaining the “permit to install” requires a CAFF owner to submit information on:
- Maps indicating CAFF boundaries, manure storage facility dimensions, location and siting distances and locations of subsurface drains within 100 feet of manure storage.
- Geological study results with information on soil; groundwater sampling and analysis; hydrology; geology and topography of land used for manure storage.
- Listing of the type, amount and nutrient content of manure from the facility.
For the permit to operate, the CAFF must submit a Manure Management Plan that outlines the Best Management Practices the CAFF will implement to minimize water impacts from the storage and use of manure. The Manure Management Plan must include:
- A nutrient budget.
- Manure and soil characterizations.
- Manure distribution and utilization methods
- Methods for minimizing odor.
- Inspection, maintenance and monitoring practices.
- Land application methods.
Land Application of Manure for Permitted CAFFs
Land application of manure by a permitted CAFF or by a Certified Livestock Manager working with the CAFF must be in accordance with ODA regulations, which include requirements for:
- Soil and manure tests.
- Crop yields and rotations to determine nutrient needs.
- Setbacks from streams, neighbors and wells
- Limitations on amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and liquid applied.
- Weather predictions.
- Examination of soil condition for cracks, earthworm burrows and plant root pathways to tile or tile blowouts in the field.
- Monitoring of tile outlets during and after application.
- Restrictions against runoff or ponding of manure.
- Recordkeeping requirements.
- Inspection requirements.
If a local farmer uses manure from a permitted CAFF for application on another farm, the CAFF must provide the farmer with the ODA’s application requirements and a current manure test. The farmer must certify when and how much manure was taken from the CAFF. The farmer’s land application of manure then falls under the Agricultural Pollution Abatement Program, described below.
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits
The federal Clean Water Act requires livestock operations defined as “Confined Animal Feeding Operations” (CAFOs) to obtain a federal NPDES permit if they discharge or propose to discharge a pollutant to surface waters, even if the operation has obtained a permit from ODA. The Ohio EPA administers the NPDES permit process, which requires operators to control spills and runoff from their facilities and from the land application of manure. To obtain a permit, a CAFO must develop and implement a Manure Management Plan that addresses:
- Practices to ensure adequate manure storage capacity and proper maintenance and operation of storage facilities.
- Practices to divert clean storm water away from production areas.
- Practices to ensure that animals and manure in the production area do not come into direct contact with waters of the State.
- A land application plan that includes:
- A nutrient budget.
- Manure and soil characterizations.
- Application methods and timing.
- Agronomic application rates.
CAFO owners must also meet ongoing monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting requirements and are subject to enforcement actions for violations.
Certified Livestock Manager Certification
Ohio law requires Ohio’s largest CAFFs and every manure broker or manure applicator who handles more than 4,500 dry tons or 25 million liquid gallons of manure per year to obtain the Certified Livestock Manager (CLM) certification from ODA. The applicant must complete core classes on nutrient management standards, manure storage and handling and Ohio manure regulations and must also complete three elective classes on water quality, soil testing, stockpiling, emergency action plans, spill reporting, value of manure nutrients, recordkeeping, biosecurity, liability or applying manure to growing crops. CLMs must complete ten hours of continuing education every three years to maintain their certification.
Ohio Agricultural Pollution Abatement Program
Ohio’s Agricultural Pollution Abatement Program (APAP) applies to agricultural operations that are not subject to the above state and federal permit programs for CAFFs and CAFOs. As stated in Ohio Revised Code 1511 and Ohio Administrative Code 1501:15-5, APAP provides state standards for management and conservation practices that aim to abate water pollution resulting from animal manure. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Soil and Water Resources (ODNR) administers APAP in cooperation with local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD).
Ohio’s APAP regulations establish Best Management Practices (BMPs) for livestock operators. The standards encourage operators to:
- Operate and maintain animal manure collection, storage or treatment facilities to prevent seepage, overflow or discharge of animal manure into waters of the state.
- Prevent the discharge of manure-contaminated runoff from animal feedlots and animal manure management facilities.
- Prevent pollution caused by flooding; construct animal feeding operations so that animal manure will not be inundated by a 25 year frequency flood.
- Minimize pollution from land application of manure by adopting manure application practices that consider the characteristics of the animal manure, available land, topography, cropping system, method of application, weather, time of the year, condition of the soil, other nutrients applied and nutrient status of the soil.
Technical expertise and cost-share assistance is available through APAP to help operators install and implement BMPs and develop Operation and Management Plans. The law provides a complaint-driven process for suspected pollution incidents that can result in an investigation by ODNR or SWCD. Farms that cause pollution and fail to adopt the recommended BMPs to address pollution abatement must develop and implement modifications to their facilities as approved by ODNR or SWCD, or face enforcement actions.
Watershed in Distress Regulations
The Ohio APAP regulations also contain rules that apply to certain producers of manure within areas designated as “watersheds in distress,” located in Ohio Administrative Code 1501:15-5-19 to 20. The chief of ODNR’s Division of Soil and Water Resources, with approval of the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission, may designate a watershed to be in distress when aquatic life and health is impaired by nutrients or sediment from agricultural land uses and where there is a threat to public health, drinking water supplies, recreation, or public safety and welfare. Within the boundaries of a designated watershed in distress, these additional regulations apply to animal facility owners and operators and manure applicators:
- No land application of manure may occur between December 15 and March 1 without prior approval from the agency; before and after these dates, applications of manure on frozen ground or ground covered in more than one inch of snow may occur only if injected into the ground or incorporated within 24 hours of surface application.
- No land application of manure if the local weather forecast shows more than a 50% chance that precipitation would exceed one-half inch of rain in the 24 hours after the proposed application.
- Restrictions on the application of snowpack manure.
- An operation must ensure a minimum of 120 days of manure storage as of December 1 of each year and keep records of manure storage volumes.
- Anyone who produces, applies or receives more than 350 tons or 150,000 gallons of manure per year must have an approved Nutrient Management Plan that addresses the methods, amount, form, placement, cropping system and timing of all nutrient applications, unless the farm is already operating under a permit from ODA’s DLEP or an NPDES permit from OEPA.
For more information on the regulation of animal manure in Ohio, refer to these resources:
ODA Livestock Environmental Permitting and Certified Livestock Manager Programs - www.agri.ohio.gov/divs/DLEP/dlep.aspx
Ohio EPA Confined Animal Feeding Operations - www.epa.ohio.gov/dsw/cafo/index
Ohio DNR Agricultural Pollution Abatement - www2.ohiodnr.com/soilwater/water-conservation/agricultural-pollution-abatement
Ohio Revised Code - http://codes.ohio.gov/orc
Ohio Administrative Code - http://codes.ohio.gov/oac
With fall quickly approaching, now is a good time to consider whether you should lease your land for hunting. Leasing your land for hunting can be beneficial by giving you an extra source of income as well as managing wildlife populations and decreasing crop damage. However, there are some considerations to make before granting that lease to someone.
Your first concern should be whether or not you would be liable for hunting accidents on your property. You likely wouldn’t be, thanks to Ohio’s Recreational User Statute. In certain situations, Ohio’s Recreational User Statute provides immunity from legal liability for someone harmed on your property during recreational activities. The types of recreational activities included in the Recreational User Statute include: hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, hiking, swimming, operating a snowmobile, all-purpose vehicle, or four-wheel drive motor vehicle, or engaging in “other recreational pursuits.”
Under the Recreational User Statute, those who lease nonresidential property for hunting do not have any duty to keep the premises safe, do not give any promises of safety by granting permission, and do not assume responsibility or liability for injuries caused by any act of the hunters.
Next, you should consider the lease itself. To create an enforceable lease, the lease must:
- Be in writing
- Identify the land being leased by legal description, address, and acreage
- Properly name the lessor (the owner of the land) and the lessee (the person leasing the land to hunt)
- Be signed by both parties
- Be acknowledged and certified by a notary public or local official if the lease is over three years
It is also important to consider what should be included in the lease. Some terms and conditions you should consider including are:
A description of the property
- Clearly defining what property is/is not included in the lease will set clear boundaries for the lessee
A description of what activities are/are not allowed
- Fishing, camping, tree stand or duck blind construction, etc.?
Allowance or restriction of sub-leasing
- Do you want to give permission to the lessee to sub-lease or is the lease strictly between you and the lessee?
Who is allowed to hunt or access the property
- Just the lessee? Or may the lessee bring guests? Is there a limit to the number of people allowed to hunt at any given time? Do you want the lessee to ask permission to bring guests?
Amount of payment and payment dates
- How much will you charge for the lease and when do you want paid?
- When will the lease end? On a specific date and/or if a violation of the lease agreement occurs?
- Limiting the number of deer that may be killed? Requiring a certain number of female deer killed?
Landowners reserving some rights to hunt on their land
- When leasing your land for hunting, you give up your right to hunt the land yourself unless you reserve some rights to hunt for yourself
What season is the lease in effect?
- Only deer, deer and turkey, etc.
Vehicle access to the property
- Where can vehicles drive and park on your property? What vehicles are permitted – will you allow ATV’s?
- Requiring hunters to maintain liability insurance
These are important considerations to think about including in a hunting lease, but this is not an exhaustive list. You should really consider what your goal is for leasing your land for hunting. Make sure the terms and conditions you include in your lease will help accomplish those goals. While hunting lease templates can be found online, you should consult with an attorney to create a hunting lease that will satisfy the goals and needs of your particular situation.
To read Ohio’s Recreational User Statute, visit: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/1533.181