AFO Rules & Regulations

State Capitol
State agencies are responsible for implementing laws passed by the Iowa General Assembly. The Department of Natural Resources writes rules to implement the laws. The following links can help you find specific sections of administrative rules or laws governing animal feeding operations. You can also find an explanation of the rule process and how the DNR provides public notice and seeks public comment before proposed rules are finalized. Or, find more information about federal rules governing concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Finding Current Rules

The Iowa Administrative Code includes all rules written by state agencies, including the Iowa Department of Natural Resources or DNR. These rules are written to administer state laws.

Rules for animal feeding operations are found in Chapter 65 under the Environmental Protection Commission (agency identification number 567). there are also a few rules applicable to animal feeding operations located in Chapters 32, 60, 61, 63 and 64.

To look at current rules:

  1. Go to the Iowa Administrative Code website under teh Environmental Protection Commission listing.
  2. Click on the rules, pdf or rtf tabs in the right-hand column under the appropriate chapter. pdf for Chapter 65.

New Rule Proposals

When new rules are proposed, the DNR seeks public input by holding one or more public hearings. Anyone who wants to comment on the rule proposal can attend a public hearing and make a comment. Or, they can submit written comments to the appropriate person at the DNR provided the comments are received before the closing date for public input.

After public hearings close, the DNR summarizes public comments and may make changes in the proposed rule based on those comments.

Visit the state Public Meeting Calendar to view the date, time and location for all currently scheduled public hearings.

Approval Process for New Rules

The nine-member Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) provides policy oversight for Iowa's environmental protection efforts. The EPC must approve rule changes proposed by the DNR.

Generally the EPC will see a rule proposal three times. First, as an "information item" and secondly as a decision item or "Notice of Intended Action." Finally, after public comment and public hearings, the EPC can decide to approve, modify or disapprove the final rule. Changes can and do occur in proposed rules until the final rule has been approved by the Environmental Protection Commission and published in the Iowa Administrative Bulletin.

Public Notification of Rules

Before the DNR's rules are adopted, they are published in the Iowa Administrative Bulletin as a "Notice of Intended Action." Any interested person may submit comments on the proposed rules within time frames set forth in the notice. All notices must allow at least 20 days for people to submit comments or to request an oral presentation.

The Iowa Administrative Bulletin is the official notice of all changes to the rules of the Administrative Code and all other documents which pertain to the business of the Administrative Rules Review Committee.

The DNR may not adopt the rules until 35 days after the date the notice of intended action is published. Following notice and adoption, the final rules are again published in the Iowa Administrative Bulletin. They become effective at a date specified with the final rule. Normally the DNR must allow at least 35 days from the date of publication for people to prepare to implement the rules.

Iowa Laws Regarding Animal Feeding Operations

The Iowa Code includes all laws passed by the Iowa General Assembly. To find the specific section of Iowa Code relating to animal feeding operations:

1. Click on Iowa Code.
2. Applicable chapters include:

  • Chapter 459 -- Animal Agriculture and Compliance Act
  • Chapter 459A -- Animal Agriculture and Compliance Act for Open Feedlot Operations
  • Chapter 459B -- Dry Bedded Confinement Feeding Operations

3. Click on the rules, PDF or RTF tabs in the right-hand column under the appropriate chapter.

Federal Rules

As authorized by the Clean Water Act, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States. This program includes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) rule.

In Iowa, EPA delegates enforcement of the NPDES program to the DNR. The DNR's NPDES section issues NPDES permits and storm water permits to animal feeding operations. The NPDES section provides technical assistance to animal feeding operation owners owners and operators.

The EPA rules and rule history are available on its CAFO website.