FPPC's specific mandate is to oversee the implementation and administration of a Pilot Project Program to demonstrate economically viable innovative treatment technology systems that reduce the nutrient content of the waste stream from AFOs by 75 percent or greater. Funding for approved Pilot Projects comes from monies appropriated by Congress and overseen by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), a division of the United States Department of Agriculture.
Continuing growth in animal production has caused manure management practices to change dramatically. Animals are often kept at different locations as they grow and mature, and do so in environments that are more specialized than generalized. An increasing number of animals are raised in buildings where temperature, humidity and other environmental factors are managed to optimize production. The animal manure is collected and frequently used as a fertilizer on adjacent cropland or pastureland. As such, it is both a valued nutrient and an environmental challenge for producers.
Changes and current trends in the industry raise many environmental concerns for water and air quality. The Federal Clean Water Act requires large production facilities to meet the requirements of livestock effluent guidelines. Most states administer the Federal Clean Water Act requirements and incorporate those requirements into State permit regulations, however, regulations vary widely from state to state and change frequently.
The challenge for the industry is to develop manure treatment systems that will handle concentrated animal waste in an economical and environmentally friendly manner. Without viable animal nutrient management systems, the industry will continue to be under scrutiny and moratoriums at state and local levels.