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Do I Qualify as a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation?

CAFO definitions, coverage limitations, authorization process for CAFO general permits.

What is a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation?

An animal feeding operation (AFO) is a lot or facility, other than an aquatic animal production facility, where animals have been, are, or will be stabled or confined and fed or maintained for a total of 45 days or more in any 12-month period, and in which the animal confinement areas do not sustain crops, vegetation, forage growth, or post-harvest residues in the normal growing season over any portion of the lot or facility.

When Do I Need a Permit?

The type and number of animals on site determine how an AFO is categorized under the rules:

Large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO)

An AFO with the number of animals in the following table, is considered a large CAFO and must obtain written authorization from the TCEQ.

HeadAnimal Type
1,000 veal calves and cattle other than mature dairy cattle
700 mature dairy cattle
2,500 swine weighing over 55 pounds
10,000 swine weighing less than 55 pounds
5,000 ducks (liquid manure handling system)
30,000 ducks (not using liquid manure handling system)
500 horses
10,000 sheep or lambs
55,000 turkeys
82,000 laying hens or broilers (not using liquid manure handling system)
30,000 laying hens or broilers (liquid manure handling system)
125,000 chickens (other than laying hens, if not using liquid waste handling system)

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Medium CAFO

An AFO located in the Dairy Outreach Program Area (Erath, Bosque, Hamilton, Comanche, Wood, Rains, and Hopkins Counties) with the number of animals in the following table is considered a medium CAFO. All medium CAFOs in these counties must obtain written authorization from the TCEQ.

HeadAnimal Type
300 to 999 veal calves and cattle other than mature dairy cattle
200 to 699 mature dairy cattle
3,000 to 9,999 swine weighing less than 55 pounds
750 to 2,499 swine weighing over 55 pounds
10,000 to 29,999 ducks (not using liquid manure handling system)
1,500 to 4,999 ducks (liquid manure handling system)
150 to 499 horses
3,000 to 9,999 sheep or lambs
16,500 to 54,999 turkeys
25,000 to 81,999 laying hens or broilers (not using liquid manure handling system)
9,000 to 29,999 laying hens or broilers (liquid manure handling system)
37,500 to 124,999 chickens (other than laying hens, if not using liquid waste handling system)

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Small CAFO

Any AFO may be designated a small CAFO by the executive director because it is a significant contributor of pollutants into or adjacent to water in the state. Any AFO that is designated a small CAFO must obtain written authorization from the TCEQ.

Other Animal Feeding Operations

AFOs not defined or designated as CAFOs are authorized by the permit by rule found in 30 TAC Chapter 321.47Exit the TCEQ. If you are an AFO but not a CAFO, you must submit a notification form and comply with the permit by rule. If you need technical assistance with your AFO, contact the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation BoardExit the TCEQ (TSSWCB) or the USDA Natural Resource Conservation ServiceExit the TCEQ (NRCS).

Types of CAFO Water Quality Permits

If your CAFOs must obtain written authorization from the TCEQ you may qualify for a general permit (HTML) or you may need to obtain an individual permit (HTML).

If you have questions, please see our Contact Page or e-mail us at CAFO@tceq.texas.gov.

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Renewing the General Permit for CAFOs

New Information In July 2014, the Commission adopted a renewal and amendment of General Permit No. TXG920000, which authorizes manure, sludge and wastewater discharge by a CAFO into or adjacent to water in the state, only during chronic or catastrophic rainfall or catastrophic conditions.

The fact sheet contains additional information about the general permit.

Hot Topic Permittees currently authorized under the previous general permit must submit a renewal Notice of Intent prior to January 16, 2015.

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