ODA explains livestock rule changes

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REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Livestock Environmental Permitting Program will hold two informational sessions on proposed rule changes governing large-scale livestock farms.

Wooster, Lima. The first session will be held Dec. 9 from 7-9 p.m. on the campus of Ohio State’s Agricultural Technical Institute. The meeting will beheld in Room 206 of Skou Hall, 1328 Dover Road, Wooster.

The second session will be held Dec. 10, 7-9 p.m., at the Allen County extension office, 3900 Campus Dr., Lima.

The information sessions are for the general public and livestock producers.

Why make changes? Changes were required to comply with new rules published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, changes to Ohio law, through H.B. 152, and corrections to the rules discovered during the program’s first year of regulating the state’s large-scale livestock and poultry farms.

Department staff will review the draft rule changes and answer questions. The meetings are not forums for those interested in making formal comments.

Overview of changes. The term “animal unit” was removed and replaced in the new rule with new definitions of “small,” “medium” and “large” Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, as used in the new U.S. EPA rules.

A second proposed rule change, based on federal changes, is the requirement of a construction stormwater permit when disturbing more than one acre of land.

Public participation procedures were also clarified in the new proposal.

The changes also enhances the director of agriculture’s enforcement authority by authorizing administrative enforcement proceedings and referral to the state attorney general on state permits.

ODNR gets teeth. The new rule also outlines a provision to increase enforcement by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Soil and Water Conservation. If voluntary programs do not achieve compliance, ODNR can refer smaller farms to ODA for regulation.

The proposed changes also include numerous technical changes.

The proposed rule changes can be found on the department’s Web site, www.ohioagriculture.gov.

To comment. A separate public hearing, where oral testimony will be accepted, is Jan. 5, 10 a.m., at the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Bromfield Administration Building in Reynoldsburg.

Written comments are also being accepted on the proposed rule changes until Jan. 5.

Comments, which must include the person’s name and address, can be sent to the ODA, 8995 E. main St., Reynoldsburg, OH 43068.

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