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Jan. 23 2020 12:21 AM

Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) must maintain accurate manure handling records to meet the requirements of their nutrient management plan (NMP). If a farm doesn’t have enough land to utilize all of its nutrients, it is common for manure to be moved to a neighboring farm for land application.

When manure moves to a new location, who is legally responsible for managing that manure may change. Other potential owners could be the person or entity transporting and/or applying the manure, or the owner of the farm receiving the manure.

If ownership switches from the original farmer to someone else, that would be considered a manure transfer, explained Amy Millmier-Schmidt in a University of Nebraska-Lincoln UNL Water newsletter.

She highlighted these three questions used to determine if a manure transfer has taken place:

  1. Is the land that is receiving the manure owned by the concentrated animal feeding operation’s (CAFO) owner?
    If yes, then a manure transfer did not take place, because the CAFO operator still controls how the manure is utilized. She pointed out that this land should be part of the CAFO’s NMP. Even if an employee or a custom manure applicator transported the manure, a manure transfer did not take place in this scenario.

  2. Is the land receiving the manure included in the CAFO’s NMP under an agreement between the CAFO operator and the farmer who owns the land?
    Since this land is included on the CAFO’s NMP and the CAFO operator dictates how the manure is used, a transfer of manure does not happen in this instance, either. Application should follow the protocols specified in the NMP.

  3. Who is applying or directing manure application?

If the receiving farmer decides where, when, and how the manure is utilized, and the CAFO owner is not involved in that decision process or the actual application, then this is considered a manure transfer. The original owner no longer determines how the manure is used.

When a manure transfer occurs, Millmier-Schmidt wrote that the CAFO operator should maintain a record of how much manure was transferred, when it took place, and the name and address of the recipient. This person should also provide the recipient with an analysis for the manure being transferred.


This article appeared in the February 2020 issue of Journal of Nutrient Management on page 14.
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