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Definitions

Definitions

Nonpoint source pollution cannot be traced back to a definitive point, as opposed to point source pollution. For example, nonpoint source pollution may occur through runoff into watercourses from agricultural or urban sites.

A facility is an Animal Feeding Operation (AFO) if animals are confined for at least 45 days in a 12-month period and there’s no vegetation in the confinement area during the normal growing season.

A facility is a Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) if it meets the definition of an AFO and is a small, medium, or large CAFO.

Small CAFO

AFOs that don’t confine enough animals to meet the medium size threshold may be designated as CAFOs by the permitting authority. An operation may be designated as a CAFO if the Montana Department of Environmental Quality or the Environmental Protection Agency determines that the facility is a significant contributor of pollutants to state waters and that it meets at least one of these criteria:

  • A man-made ditch or pipe carries manure or wastewater from the operation to surface water
  • OR the animals come into contact with surface water running through the area where they’re confined.

No matter what size the operation is, if it is an AFO, it may be designated a CAFO. If the permitting authority inspects the operation and finds that it’s adding pollutants to surface waters, a CAFO permit may be needed.

Medium CAFO

The facility is a Medium CAFO if:

  • A man-made ditch or pipe carries manure or wastewater from the operation to surface water
  • OR the animals come into contact with surface water running through the area where they’re confined
  • AND the operation has at least:
    • 200 mature dairy cows
    • 300 beef cattle or heifers
    • 750 swine (each 55 lbs or more)
    • 3,000 swine (each under 55 lbs)
    • 9,000 chickens (liquid manure systems)
    • 37,500 chickens except laying hens (not liquid manure systems)
    • 25,000 laying hens (not liquid manure systems)
    • 300 veal calves
    • 150 horses
    • 3,000 sheep or lambs
    • 16,500 turkeys

Large CAFO

A Large CAFO has at least:

  • 700 mature dairy cows
  • 1,000 beef cattle or heifers
  • 2,500 swine (each 55 lbs or more)
  • 10,000 swine (each under 55 lbs)
  • 30,000 chickens (liquid manure systems)
  • 125,000 chickens except laying hens (other than liquid manure systems)
  • 82,000 laying hens (other than liquid manure systems)
  • 1,000 veal calves
  • 500 horses
  • 10,000 sheep or lambs
  • 55,000 turkeys