A new pact on water quality may come as soon as today between state and federal officials. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on regulation of the state’s livestock operations.

DNR spokesman Kevin Baskins says the agreement would cover issues like manure run-off and clean water protections.

Baskins says, “One key point to this will be prioritizing those facilities that we think need the most attention, those that are close to waterways, those that have outside manure storage and those that have had a history in the past of having some spills.”

Baskins says new developments in technology have provided the tools producers needed to help improve their environmental controls.

He says, “By looking at a lot of these facilities, just on the computer desktop, you can assess how vulnerable they may be.”

Baskins says the state’s cattle producers have done a good job of working with the DNR to improve environmental protections of feedlots.

Baskins says, “The Cattlemen are a good example of an organization that has stepped up and been proactive in looking at ways they can improve their operations that are going to meet their needs but also protect the environment.”

Baskins says it’s not so much about inspections but consultations between state and federal regulatory officials — and producers — in finding viable solutions.

By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton