The management of animal waste from Animal Feeding Operations (AFO) is a priority in Florida and throughout the country. AFOs are facilities where numbers animals are in confined situations and meet both of the following criteria:
Animals have been, are, or will be stabled or confined and fed or maintained for a total of 45 days or more in any consecutive 12-month period.
Crops, vegetation, forage growth, or post-harvest residues are not able to be sustained in the normal growing season over any portion of the lot or facility due to animal activity.
Nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) are the contaminants typically associated with AFOs. The Department has developed wastewater rules for AFOs and provides technical assistance to the livestock industry. Animal Feeding Operations regulated under the Department's wastewater program include dairies, poultry, and horse and swine operations. Large AFOs are also considered to be Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).
CAFOs may also be medium or small AFOs if they meet certain discharge criteria. CAFOs are regulated under the NPDES program. Non-NPDES aquaculture operations are regulated by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS).
The Department works in cooperation with the agriculture industry and other governmental agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, FDACS, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Suwannee River Partnership, Suwannee River Water Management District and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.