In 1997, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) and the Oklahoma State Legislature recognized the need for a division dedicated to protecting the state’s soils and waters from animal waste. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s) were becoming larger and more numerous across the state and the public was concerned about possible water contamination.
The ODAFF Agricultural Environmental Management Services (AEMS) was created to help develop, coordinate and oversee environmental policies and programs. The division’s mission is to work with producers and concerned citizens to protect the Oklahoma environment from animals, poultry and their wastes.
Agricultural water quality issues have become a national issue. Ensuring that animal waste does not impact the waters of the state is the basis for the Oklahoma Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation Act. The CAFO Act is designed to protect water quality through the use of best management practices on agricultural lands.
A CAFO is an animal feeding operation that confines and feeds 1,000 animal units or more for 45 days or more in a 12 month period. It is designed by the U.S. EPA as a significant source of pollution. CAFOs have potential for serious impacts on water quality if not managed properly. The CAFO Act, as administered by the Agricultural Environmental Management Services, provides the CAFO operators the necessary tools and information to be the best managers they can be.
CAFOs must effectively deal with the manure and wastewater animals produce so streams, lakes, ponds, and ground water sources are not polluted. The Agricultural Environmental Management Services issues licenses to CAFOs, inspects the facilities and works with operators to protect water quality. Potential problems for CAFOs can include animal waste discharges to waters of the state and failure to properly operate wastewater facilities.
Voluntary compliance, supported by educational outreach, is one of the means to achieve the water quality goals of the CAFO program. A majority of the operators want to do the right thing in managing their animal waste.
A complaint regarding animals may be filed with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry by calling the Complaint Hotline at (800) 235-9877. This phone is manned between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. After business hours you may leave a message on the Voice Mail or if there is an emergency you will need to follow the instructions on the Voice Mail.
All information received is considered public information so, if you do not want your name or any identifying information made public, please indicate that the complaint is anonymous. If you file your complaint as anonymous, we will not be able to contact you regarding the resolution of the complaint.