Do I need a Permit?

Livestock Manure Management Policy and Regulations: Permits

Do I Need A Permit?

In Nebraska, an inspection by an NDEQ representative will provide the final determination of whether or not a livestock or poultry operation will need a permit. Use the flow chart below to determine whether your animal operation could be classified as an AFO. If Yes, you should request an inspection.

Listed here are some general guidelines regarding permits. Not all AFOs will need a permit.

  • If an AFO is classified as a Concentrated AFO (CAFO), then an NPDES permit will be required.
  • Most large CAFOs (e.g. 1000 beef animals or more) will need a permit.
  • Proposed changes to the federal rules may allow some exceptions if:
    1. animals and manure is always located under roof, and
    2. no manure is applied on land owned or managed by the animal operation.
  • A Medium and Small AFO may be classified as a CAFO based upon the risk to surface water.

Recognize that the final decision on the need for a permit is made by NDEQ as a result of an on-site inspection.

If you are a pasture-based operation and have over 300 head of cows or cattle being backgrounded, you need to request an inspection (Form A)

You must request an inspection (Form A) if you are building a barn to house any species of livestock where you would exceed:

  • 9,000 hens with liquid manure system or 25,000 hens with dry litter
  • 37,500 chickens other than layers
  • 16,500 turkeys
  • 750 swine > 55 lbs.  or 3,000 swine < 55 lbs.
  • 300 head of cattle
  • 200 head of dairy cows

What Issues Are Addressed in a Permit? 

A Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) is the foundation of any permit. NMP's address nine topics including manure storage, crop nutrient management planning, mortality, chemical storage and other topics.

Construction of new or modified storage or runoff control facilities must meet multiple engineering and design requirements specified by Nebraska Title 130.

  • These requirements are discussed in detail in Chapter 7 and Chapter 8 of Title 130.
  • The Construction Approval process followed by NDEQ is described in Chapter 4.


A Nebraska CAFO will also be asked to address:

1. Odor management (Chapter 5, section 004.05)

2. Location and setback restrictions (Chapter 9) 

3. Irrigation distribution requirements (Chapter 10)

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