National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs) - Animal Agriculture Industry Partnerships

EPA and the animal agriculture industry are collaborating to enhance water quality protection through voluntary partnerships. There are four parts to this program:

Open Dialogue

EPA established an Animal Agriculture Discussion Group (AADG) to develop a shared understanding of how to implement the Clean Water Act. AADG keeps communication open and improves two-way understandings of viewpoints. AADG is an informal and iterative group of animal agriculture stakeholders including representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), all sectors of the animal feeding industry and their associations, academia, and states. The group convenes via conference calls and face-to-face meetings twice per year.


EPA and industry collaborate to conduct joint projects for water quality protection. Noteworthy partnership projects include:

  • Beneficial Uses of Manure and Environmental Protection - A two-page outreach piece developed with agriculture industry organizations.
  • US Poultry's YouTube webpage Exit- Video series produced by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association for poultry producers on environmental management, as part of EPA’s education, outreach, and training efforts, released in January 2016.
  • Continuing EPA participation in individual sector environmental stewardship awards including U.S. Poultry and Egg’s Family Farm Awards, and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy’s Sustainability Awards.

Practices and Technologies

Through the Nutrient Recycling Challenge, EPA and twenty partners are harnessing the power of competition to encourage the development and adoption of nutrient recovery technologies. These technologies can extract or transform the nutrients in manure and sequester them into valuable products that could be used onsite, transferred, or sold to where they are needed. For more information see: Nutrient Recycling Challenge website.

Better Information and Training

EPA and AADG are developing an educational program to facilitate two-way understandings of livestock and poultry feeding operations and water quality protection measures. The training will cover the basic major elements of agriculture production systems -- what they look like, how they operate -- relative to manure management to protect water quality.