Final CAFO General Permit released April 1, 2020

Learn more about the Final CAFO General Permit and when compliance with the permit is expected to be followed.

Many producers in agriculture have heard about the new CAFO General Permit and some of the potential changes included. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has officially released the final permit as of April 1, 2020 and it is now in effect. Once a certificate of coverage (COC) is issued to a CAFO, they are then expected to comply with the new permit. However, due to the recent situation surrounding the novel coronavirus, EGLE will not be issuing COCs for at least 60 days from the April 1 date. Therefore, CAFO facilities that are already permitted are expected to continue operating under their extended (current) permits if they have submitted their application for the new permit.

EGLE has put out some educational and informational resources regarding the new permit on their website. This website includes public comments that were submitted during the public comment period as well as the new permit in its entirety and an updated fact sheet that includes the changes addressed in the permit. A few changes are listed below:

  • In the original draft permit, EGLE considered requiring the use of the Michigan Phosphorus Risk Assessment (MPRA) tool exclusively in evaluating manure application to fields. In the final permit, EGLE has stated that, “a permittee can now either use the numerical Bray P1 phosphorus limits, or the MPRA tool to evaluate fields for manure application.”
  • The draft permit proposed a ban on winter manure application for the months of January, February, and March 1st-19th. In the final permit, EGLE has written that CAFO manure may not be applied during January, February, or March unless the permitted farm shows that environmental and field conditions allowed for the safe application of said manure.
  • One other proposal in the draft permit was to remove the evaporation factor in planned construction of waste storage structures. EGLE reconsidered this proposal and has left the inclusion of evaporation in calculations of storage capacity in the new permit. EGLE supported this decision by citing “the Permit Writers Manual for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (EPA 833-F-12-001).

A full list of the changes and descriptions in the final CAFO General Permit can be found on the EGLE website. Michigan State University Extension is committed to walk through these changes with producers as needed. You can also directly contact MSU Extension Environmental Management Educators, Erica Rogers or Sarah Fronczak with any questions.

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