|By TIM ALEXANDER
URBANA, Ill. — Any busy farmer can tell you: it often seems as if a personal attorney is required just to keep pace with environmental regulations that pertain to agricultural and horticultural operations.
Thanks to the University of Illinois (UOI) Extension’s new EZregs website, www.ezregs.uiuc.edu, help is available to farmers, green industry professionals, land-use planners and others seeking to make sense of environmental regulations in Illinois.
“EZregs makes it easier to find and understand the regulations that affect the day-to-day operations of farm producers and other ag and horticultural professionals,” said Ted Funk, UOI Extension agricultural and biological engineering specialist, who co-authored the website with Extension specialists Randy Fonner, Scott Bretthauer and Bruce Paulsrud.
Offering a database of 13 sets of regulations, the site features links to IEPA Livestock Regulations (Parts 501, 506, 560, 570, 580), the Livestock Management Facility Act (Section 900), the Illinois Construction Site Stormwater Permit, the Illinois Pesticide Act and the Historic Resources Preservation Act. Visitors and members can access sections on four different operation types: Livestock Production, Food Crop Production, Ornamental Horticulture Production and Landscape Maintenance. Regulations on pesticides and worker safety may be found within those four sections.
For each operation type, a list of frequently asked questions is presented. By clicking on those questions, different regulations pertaining to the questions can be viewed.
Sometimes the scope of a question will overlap with more than one set of regulations, Funk said.
“For instance, if a producer wants to build a lagoon, the question ‘What are the design standards for a lagoon?’ will pull up not only IEPA Livestock Regulations, but also applicable regulations from the Illinois Construction Site Storm-water Permit, the Historic Resources Preservation Act and the Endangered Species Act.”
For those not versed in legalese, many of the regulations are followed by an “interpretation block” that explains the information in layman’s terms. A glossary section also accompanies many of the regulations. The site will be updated on a regular basis; future plans include the addition of the Illinois Noxious Weed Law and the Illinois Drainage Law to the database.
“I think this is one of those websites that people are going to bookmark as a favorite and return to often,” Funk said. “There are just too many details in the regulations for anyone to commit to memory, and those are details that can make or break an operation.”
This farm news was published in the Sept. 13, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.