What can you burn on the farm?


1What can I burn?
Ohio law allows the burning of “agricultural wastes” under certain conditions. According to Ohio law, agricultural waste includes:

  • Waste material generated by crop, horticultural, or livestock production practices, landscape wastes that are generated in agricultural activities and woody debris and plant matter from stream flooding.
  • Bags, cartons, structural materials and containers for pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides, miticides, nematocides, fumigants, herbicides, seed disinfectants and defoliants, if the manufacturer has identified open burning as a safe disposal procedure. Farmers may add seed bags and cartons to the burn pile as long as the label states that open burning of the materials is safe.

2What can’t I burn?

  • Standing or fallen buildings, building materials, food waste, dead animals, materials made from petroleum or containing plastic, rubber, grease or asphalt.
  • Debris resulting from the clearing of land for new agricultural, residential, commercial or industrial development — this type of waste is defined as “land clearing waste,”  which requires prior written notification to Ohio EPA.

3Where can I burn?
Agricultural waste can only be burned on the property where the waste is generated; the waste may not be taken to a different property for burning and a farmer cannot receive and burn waste from another property.

If the burning is inside a “restricted area,” then prior written notice to Ohio EPA must be provided at least 10 days in advance of the burning.

The law defines a “restricted area as: Any area inside city or village limits; Any area within the 1,000-foot zone outside of a city or village with a population of 1,000 to 10,000; Any area within a one-mile zone outside of a city or village with a population of more than 10,000.

The fire must occur in a location where it will not obscure visibility for roadways, railroad tracks or air fields. The fire must be more than 1,000 feet from any neighboring building inhabited by people, such as homes, stores, restaurants, schools, etc.

4When can I burn?
Ohio’s wildfire laws limit open burning in rural areas during the March, April, May, October and November, when wildfire risk is highest due to dry vegetative conditions and dry winds.

During these months, open burning in rural areas is completely prohibited between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., when volunteer fire departments are not well-staffed. An exception to this prohibition applies to farmers under the following conditions.

  • Open burning may occur in a plowed field or garden, if the burn pile is at least 200 feet from any woodland, brushland or field containing dry grass or other flammable material. If a farmer can’t meet this 200-foot buffer zone requirement, the farmer should wait until after 6 p.m. to conduct the burn.
  • Open burning should only occur when atmospheric conditions will readily dissipate any smoke and potential contaminants. If weather conditions are foggy, rainy or causing air inversions, smoke and contaminants will not readily disperse.
  • Even if all other legal requirements for open burning are met, open burning is not allowed when air pollution warnings, alerts or emergencies are in effect.

Next Week: Open burning part II

Source: Ohio open burning law, Peggy Kirk Hall, OSU Extension Agricultural & Resource Law.

(Farm and Dairy is featuring a series of “101” columns throughout the year to help young and beginning farmers master farm living. From finances to management to machinery repair and animal care, farmers do it all.)

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