Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image
CAFO frequently asked questions
What is the definition of a CAFO?
"Confined Animal Feeding Operation" (CAFO) means:
(a) The concentrated feeding or holding of animals or poultry, including but not limited to horse, cattle, sheep, or swine feeding areas, dairy confinement areas, slaughterhouse or shipping terminal holding pens, poultry and egg production facilities and fur farms;
(A) in buildings or in pens or lots where the surface has been prepared with concrete, rock or fibrous material to support animals in wet weather; or
(B) that have wastewater treatment works; or
(C) that discharge any wastes into the waters of the state

What is the defintion of an AFO?
A facility is an animal feeding operation (AFO) if animals are stabled/confined, or fed/maintained, for 45 days or more within any 12-month period, and the facility does not produce any crops, vegetation, or forage growth.

What characteristics classify a CAFO as a federal CAFO?
A federal CAFO is an AFO that:
(A) has more than 1,000 animal units (AU), or
(B) has 301 to 1,000 AU and wastes are discharged through a man-made conveyance or directly into US waters, or
(C) is designated a CAFO by the permitting authority on a case-by-case basis.

What types of permits are there in Oregon?
CAFO program rules and the accompanying documents

What is a "wastewater system" or "wastewater treatment system?"
These terms apply to the equipment and method used for handling wastes at the facility. This may include a conveyance ditch that carries wash water from a barn to the pasture, or it may include an underground storage tank, the contents of which are applied to fields.

I only have a few horses (or other animals), do I need a permit?
Everyone is responsible for protecting the quality of the water in the state. Generally, if you have only a few animals you won't need a permit. However, even if you don't have a permit, you cannot pollute.

Who do I contact if I'm not sure I need a permit?
Contact the Oregon Department of Agriculture´s Livestock Water Quality Specialist, for your area.

Besides the permit, will I need anything else?
According to regulation, all CAFOs that require a permit must prepare an animal waste management plan. This plan is a detailed description of facilities and operations with respect to containment, treatment, storage, and disposal of waste and wastewater.
The plan also describes how compliance with permit conditions and water quality laws will be acheived and maintained. ODA will require only the minimum information reasonably needed to satisfy state and federal law and to set maximum animal numbers. The level and amount of information required will depend upon the size, complexity, and other specifics of each facility.

What must I do to receive the permit?
Contact the Oregon Department of Agriculture at (503) 986-4700 to receive permit information.

What kinds of inspections are there?
Educational review - An operator may request their local inspector to conduct an educational review, which allows the inspector to point out potential water quality issues and to suggest best waste management practices. Generally, these are informational only.
However, if egregioius violations are found, operators may be subject to enforcement action. If you are interested in an educational review, contact your local Livestock Water Quality Specialist.
Follow-up inspections - Follow-up inspections are made to determine compliance related to prior-issued enforcement actions.
Complaint investigations - Investigations are conducted for water quality concerns on any permitted or non-permitted livestock operation in response to a complaint.
First time inspections - Facilities inspected for the first time, that are found to be discharging to surface water, may be subject to enforcement action.
Annual inspections - Each permitted facility receives an annual inspection from a Livestock Water Quality Specialist.

What kinds of reports are given during inspections?
Facility in Compliance (FIC) - Facility was found to be in compliance with CAFO permit requirements.
Water Quality Advisory (WQA) - Identifies potential problems and makes recommendations to producers for technical and financial assistance.
Notice of Noncompliance (NON) - Issued for violations including discharges, or operating without a required permit. Corrective actions described in a NON must be completed within 30 days, if there is not a separate Plan of Correction.
Plan of Correction (POC) - If corrective actions will take longer than 30 days to complete, inspectors may issue a POC along with the NON. The POC provides corrective measures, with deadlines for completion not to exceed two years, and directs producers to sources of technical and financial assistance.

My CAFO wants to compost manure. Do I need a permit?
Persons seeking more information about composting should contact the Oregon Department of Agriculture, 503-986-4700, or see the following links.

What are the consequences of not registering my CAFO?
Any owner or operator of a CAFO operating without the permit is subject to a $500 civil penalty. ORS 468B.220