August 14th 2014

Manure Management Plans 101 

As a resource that can have negative effects on the environment, manure must be managed in a responsible way. When managed correctly, manure can improve crop productivity and reduce the demand for commercial fertilizer. In addition, it will limit the negative impact manure and waste have on air, soil, and water quality.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources provides the following information on completing a required manure management plan1. For more information or to contact the DNR directly, click here or call 515-281-5918.

Manure Management Plan

A manure management plan (MMP) is a tool that aids livestock and poultry producers in properly managing waste associated with their operation. The MMP helps producers determine the following:

  • How much manure their operation is producing
  • The nutrient concentration of the manure
  • The number of acres needed for land application
  • The amount of manure needed to be applied to each acre

Who is required to complete an Iowa MMP?

An Iowa MMP is required by state law for mid- and large-sized operations and must be filled out and submitted to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Manure Application

Confinement Feeding Operations

A plan must be submitted by confinement operations that meet any of the following criteria:

  • The operation has an animal unit capacity of 500 or more and it was constructed or expanded after May 31, 1985.
  • The operation is currently applying for a permit to construct.
  • A producer applies manure from a feeding operation located outside the state of Iowa to land in Iowa.
  • A producer owns or manages two or more confinement feeding operations within 2500 feet of each other.
  • A producer owns or manages two or more confinement feeding operations that share a common area or system for manure disposal, regardless of distance.

Open Feedlots Operations

Feedlots are not required to fill out a plan unless specifically required to as part of a permit or agreement with the DNR.

Combined Open Feedlot and Confinement Operations

Those who run a combination open feedlot and confinement operation must complete an Iowa MMP for the confinement operation if it has an animal capacity of 500 or more.

In addition, federal regulations require combined operations to have a national pollutant discharge elimination system (NEPDS2).

Submitting Your MMP

The MMP must meet specific requirements outlined by Iowa law and DNR rules, including the following:

  • The plan must base maximum applications on the phosphorus and nitrogen needs of the crops being produced.
  • The producer must identify the specific land areas on which the manure will be applied.
  • The plan must specify exact application methods and timing of application.

The form and fees associated with each producer’s MMP vary depending on the operation.

Annual MMP Submissions for Existing Sites

An update is required from livestock and poultry producers each year. The annual update should be submitted to the county board(s) of supervisors or the designated area representative and to the DNR.

Individual deadlines remain the same each year, but it is important to note that the DNR no longer sends deadline reminders. Producers can determine when their plan is due by checking the Animal Feeding Operation (AFO) database.

The fee associated with an annual compliance MMP is 15 cents per animal. This fee can be paid when submitting the form.

Updated MMP with P-Index

Producers are required to submit an Iowa MMP with a P-index based on new soil tests every four years. The AFO database will determine when this updated plan is due.

Original MMP

A first-time or original MMP is required for the following operations:

  • New sites
  • Existing sites that meet requirements for submittal, but have not previously submitted
  • Sites that have changed ownership
  • Sites with an existing MMP, but not on DNR forms
  • Sites that are constructing, expanding, or modifying a confinement feeding operation
  • Sites that were previously considered too small and are expanding to a size that requires an Iowa MMP 

When submitting an original MMP, a $250 fee is required. Other fees associated with an original MMP include indemnity fees, which must be paid when constructing a new facility or changing ownership.

Save Time with MMP360

MMP360TM application is an MMP workflow manager from AgSolver, Inc., that has been designed to turn your raw data into a complete MMP form. MMP360 application automatically takes you through the steps required to complete an Iowa MMP, cutting down the time it takes to develop a plan from between four and eight hours to around 30 minutes or less. With the MMP360 tool, you can spend less time taking care of paperwork and more time taking care of your business. 

Register today for free to run your personal field analysis and complete your required Iowa MMP.


1. United States Department of Natural Resources. Iowa. Confinement Manure Management. Web. 16 July 2014.


2. United States Department of Natural Resources. Iowa. Current Requirements for Combined Operations with Open Lots and Confinements. Web. 16 July 2014.