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Ohio State University Extension


Ag Attorney Sheds Light on Manure Handling, Application Regulations

Oct. 1, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Although the Lake Erie algae problems that contaminated Toledo’s water supply in early August have subsided, the crisis raised questions about animal manure application on farmland in Ohio and how it may have contributed to the problem.

In response, Ohio State University Extension’s agricultural and resource law field specialist has written a summary of Ohio laws relating to livestock and manure handling. OSU Extension’s September 2014 Ag Law Bulletin “Animal Manure Regulation in Ohio” is online at

OSU Extension is the outreach arm of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

“I hope the bulletin will help people understand the existing regulatory scheme regarding manure production, handling and use in Ohio,” said Peggy Hall, who is also an assistant professor for OSU Extension.

The bulletin covers state and federal regulations, including:

  • The Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Livestock Environmental Permitting Program, which covers manure management plans from the state’s large confined livestock operations, including land application methods. If a farmer uses manure from such a facility, the facility must provide the farmer with ODA’s manure application requirements and a current manure nutrient test, as well as follow other procedures.
  • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits, which cover confined animal feeding operations that discharge pollutants to surface waters. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency administers this process. The U.S. EPA has delegated administration of this permit process to the Ohio EPA.
  • Certified Livestock Manager Certification, which covers education requirements for Ohio’s largest confined livestock operations as well as manure brokers or applicators who handle more than 4,500 dry tons or 25 million liquid gallons of manure per year.
  • The Ohio Agricultural Pollution Abatement Program, which applies to agricultural operations using animal manure that are not subject to the above programs. The program provides technical expertise and assistance to ensure that nutrient management plans and mechanisms are in place on Ohio’s smaller livestock operations.

“People who don’t regularly deal with manure may be surprised to learn that large livestock operations often must obtain permits from both ODA and OEPA before operating a facility, and that land application regulations ‘follow the manure’ if it leaves a permitted facility,” Hall said. “Plus, they may not realize that small to midsize farms deal with a different, third agency, and that large manure handlers have education requirements.

“Even some farmers may be surprised to learn that soil and water conservation districts provide technical expertise and cost-sharing as preventive measures,” Hall said.

Hall said she realizes that the three-page bulletin likely will not answer all questions about manure handling and application in Ohio. She plans to work with Glen Arnold, OSU Extension field specialist in manure management, and Greg LaBarge, OSU Extension field specialist in agronomic systems, to create a Frequently Asked Questions document as a follow-up. Anyone with questions may contact Hall at, Arnold at or LaBarge at



Martha Filipic


Peggy Hall