Helping Our Clients Address A Variety Of Legal Needs

Does your agribusiness comply with the agriculture water rule?

On Behalf of | May 3, 2024 | Agricultural Law

Water is the lifeblood of agriculture. It sustains crops, nourishes livestock and contributes to overall farm productivity. However, helping to ensure responsible and sustainable water use practices is crucial with the increasing pressure on water resources. 

The Agriculture Water Rule (AWR) is a set of federal regulations established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address this very concern. But do you understand how the AWR applies to your agribusiness, and are you in compliance?

The AWR: A breakdown

The AWR focuses on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). These are facilities that house a large number of animals. These operations have the potential to contribute significant pollutants to waterways through manure runoff. The AWR dictates specific requirements for CAFOs to manage their wastewater and prevent contamination.

The AWR applies to CAFOs exceeding a certain animal population threshold. The specific numbers vary depending on the animal type (e.g., cattle, swine, chickens).

Every CAFO must create a comprehensive nutrient management plan (NMP) that outlines strategies for manure handling, storage and application. The NMP should help ensure manure is used as a valuable nutrient source for crops while minimizing environmental impact.

Maintaining meticulous records is also essential. CAFOs must document manure production, storage, application and any spills or accidents.

Regular reporting to the EPA may be required depending on the size of the CAFO. This helps to ensure transparency and allows authorities to monitor compliance.

The AWR plays a crucial role in safeguarding water resources while enabling sustainable agricultural practices. By understanding the regulations and taking proactive steps towards compliance, you can help ensure your agribusiness operates responsibly and contributes to a healthy environment for generations to come.