The Iowa Farm Bureau is warning state lawmakers that new regulations proposed for animal feedlots would cost farmers money. But state officials say the new rules are needed to comply with the Federal Clean Water Act. Under the new federal rules, a greater number of Iowa livestock producers will be required to get a state permit. Iowa Department of Natural Resources Animal Feeding Operations Coordinator Gene Tinker says that opens up producers to greater scrutiny from their neighbors and the state. Tinker says now they have to publish a notice that they’re getting the permit, put in the paper the information about their operation and a lot of producers are reluctant to let the public know just what kind of operation they have and perform the other regulations that go with it. For example Tinker says some operations will now have to build manure and runoff control strucutres. He admits this will be a financial burden for producers, but he says some operations should have applied for a state permit years ago — but simply ignored federal law. Though it’s gonig to be new to them, he says “it should have been old hat” because they should have been doing it all along. Tinker says livestock operators are complaining about the new regulations, but he says the state has no choice but to comply with federal law. The Iowa Farm Bureau’s Kris Gruenhagen says their beef is not with the new rules but rather how they are being applied. Gruenhagen says there’s a federal deadline to apply for a permit to expand, and DNR’s requirement says you have to apply 270 days earlier than that federal rule. Her group would like to see the state rule in line with federal rules, and not be more stringent. Gruenhagen says the Farm Bureau also wants the DNR to stick with a one-size-fits-all permit, rather than force producers to apply for different permits based on their size, proximity to a watershed, or past violations. But an organizer for Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Carrie Carney, says an operation with a history of manure spills should have to apply for a special permit. Carney says a lot of people are affected by large-scale animal confinement and strong rules to protect neighbors are reasonable. Carney says there are similar rules in every state, so producers aren’t going to pack up and go anywhere else just because they’re regulated in Iowa. A legislative committee is now reviewing the regulations proposed by the DNR.
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