Ohio Department of Agriculture Fact Sheet:
Concentrated Animal Feeding Facility size changed from animal unit definition to small, medium, large and major
As it relates to agriculture, the term animal unit was first used in 1976 as part of the federal rules and regulations requiring states to participate in the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program. One animal unit was set to equal a 1,000-pound feeder steer. To calculate the number of animal units for other livestock species, multipliers were used. For example, the multiplier factor for ducks was 5 (5,000 animal units); mature dairy cows, 0.7 (700 animal units); swine weighing more than 55 pounds, 2.5 (2,500 animal units); laying hens, 100 (100,000 animal units), and turkeys, 55 (55,000 animal units).
Ohio S.B. 141 required the Concentrated Animal Feeding Facility (CAFF) Advisory Committee to conduct an examination of the scientific appropriateness of the definition of animal unit and prepare and submit their findings and any recommendations for legislative changes to the definition to the General Assembly, the governor, and the directors of the state Departments of Agriculture, Environmental Protection, and Natural Resources – which has been completed. S.B. 141 required farms with more than 1,000 animal units to have a state Permit to Install (PTI) and Permit to Operate (PTO).
Livestock farming today is drastically different than when the animal unit measurement was first created more than 25 years ago. In 1976, most concentrated livestock farming was in large, out-door pens. Now most species are housed in enclosed facilities with manure and rainwater storage facilities. The original definition of animal units also wasn’t based on the science of manure production; i.e., five ducks don’t produce as much manure as a 1,000-pound steer.
Adopting the categories changed by new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules that account for the larger size variations in livestock farming today, the CAFF Advisory Committee changed the animal unit measurements to small, medium, large and major.
Large concentrated animal feeding operations are required to obtain a PTI/PTO if they stable or confine at least the number of animals specified in any of the following categories:
• 700 Mature dairy cows (whether milked or dry)
• 1,000 Veal calves
• 1,000 Cattle, other than mature dairy cattle or veal calves
• 2,500 Swine (each weighing 55 pounds or more)
• 500 Horses
• 10,000 Sheep or lambs
• 55,000 Turkeys
• 30,000 Laying hens or broilers (using a liquid manure handling system)
• 82,000 Laying hens (using a non-liquid manure handling system)
• 125,000 Chickens other than laying hens (using a non-liquid manure handling system)
• 5,000 Ducks (using a liquid manure handling system)
• 30,000 Ducks (using a non-liquid manure handling system)
Major concentrated animal feeding facilities have a total design capacity of more than ten times the number of animals specified in the large category, and are required to obtain a state permit and certification from local governments.
Medium concentrated animal feeding operations are facilities that:
(1) stable or confine the number of animals specified in any of the following categories:
• 200 to 699 Mature dairy cows (whether milked or dry)
• 300 to 999 Veal calves
• 300 to 999 Cattle, other than mature dairy cattle or veal calves
• 750 to 2,499 Swine (each weighing 55 pounds or more)
• 3,000 to 9,999 Swine (each weighing less than 55 pounds)
• 150 to 499 Horses
• 3,000 to 9,999 Sheep or lambs
• 16,500 to 54,999 Turkeys
• 9,000 to 29,999 Laying hens or broilers (using a liquid manure handling system)
• 25,000 to 81,999 Laying hens (using a non-liquid manure handling system)
• 37,500 to 124,999 Chickens other than laying hens (using a non-liquid manure handling system)
• 10,000 to 29,999 Ducks (using a non-liquid manure handling system)
• 1,500 to 4,999 Ducks (using a liquid manure handling system)
(2) does one of the following:
• Discharges pollutants directly into waters of the United States through a ditch constructed by humans, and flushing system constructed by humans, or another similar device constructed by humans.
• Discharges pollutants directly into waters of the United States that originate outside of and that pass over, across, or through the facility or otherwise come into direct contact with the animals at the facility.
Small concentrated animal feeding operations are those that do not fit the definitions established for the large and medium animal feeding facilities, and are designated by the Agriculture Director as a small concentrated animal feeding operation pursuant to state rules.