Farms in Oregon face new regulations after the passing of Senate Bill 85. The law requires anyone applying for a new concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) permit to submit a water use plan to the Oregon Department of Water Resources, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Environmental Quality. Operations using more than 17,000 gallons of groundwater per day will need to obtain water rights.
Previously, farms had no limits on groundwater use due to a stock water exemption, but recent drought and years of environmental advocacy prompted the change. Existing CAFOs will be grandfathered in but will need to file water plans when renewing their permits.
Those applying for new permits will also need to pass inspections by agricultural and environmental quality officials. In addition, anyone living within one-half mile of a new or expanding operation will be able to comment before permits are issued.
This article appeared in the November 2023 issue of Journal of Nutrient Management on page 5. Not a subscriber? Click to get the print magazine.