Playing By the Rules: Regulations and Animal Agriculture

This is a self-guided learning lesson about air and water regulations related to livestock and poultry production. Anticipated time for completion: 60 minutes. At the end is a quiz that can be submitted for a certificate of completion. Teachers/educators should check out the accompanying instructional materials.

This lesson includes 3 sections:

  1. Water quality regulations, including the Clean Water Act (CWA)
  2. Air quality regulations
  3. Record keeping and its importance to regulatory compliance

Sections 1 and 2 include resources on the relationship between federal, state, and local authorities.

1. Water Quality Regulations, Including the Clean Water Act

Watch this 20 minute video presented by Thomas Bass, Montana State University.

Recommended Reading

Federal Water Quality Regulations

2. Air Quality Regulations

Read the following publication “Air Quality Regulations in Animal Agriculture: An Introduction” (4 pages; PDF)

3. Record Keeping and Regulatory Compliance

Records protect producers and document that they are doing the right thing. Watch these four short videos that include viewpoints of regulators and farmers about the importance of records.

Why Are Animal Operations Inspected?

Why Should We Keep Records?

What Happens During an Inspection?

What Happens After an Inspection?

Recommended Reading

Record Keeping and Inspections for Animal Feeding Operations (web page)


When you have completed the above activities, take this quiz. If you score at least 7 of 10 correct, you will receive a certificate of completion via email. If you are a member of an organization that requires continuing education units (CEUs), we recommend that you submit your certificate to them for consideration as a self-study credit. American Registry of Professional Animal Scientist (ARPAS) members can self-report their completion of this module at the ARPAS website.


Author: Thomas Bass, Montana State University

Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) is a collaborative effort of the National Young Farmers Educational Association, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Montana State University. It was funded by the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) under award #2009-49400-05871. This project would not be possible without the Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center and the National eXtension Initiative.