Register May 2021 No. 785
Chapter ATCP 51
Application for Local Approval
New or Expanded Livestock Facility
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
2811 Agriculture Drive
P.O. Box 8911
Madison, WI 53708-8911
(608) 224-4630
Use this application form to obtain local approval for a new or expanded livestock facility (cattle, swine, poultry, sheep or goats) that will exceed 500 “animal units" (or a lower threshold established by local zoning ordinance prior to July 19, 2003).
Some local governments require local approval, but others do not. Check with your local government (county and town or municipality) to see if local approval is required in your area.
In some cases, you may need local approval from more than one local government (for example, the county and the town, or 2 towns if your livestock facility straddles the town line). But the application and approval process should be the same.
The construction of a new or altered livestock structure does not, by itself, constitute an “expansion" (unless there will also be an increase in animal units). If you already have a permit or local approval, you may not need another approval unless your planned expansion exceeds the number of animals previously authorized by your local government.
Local approval, if required, is governed by statewide uniform standards in Wisconsin Statutes s. 93.90 and Wisconsin Administrative Code chapter ATCP 51. This application documents compliance with those standards.
The Livestock Facility
A livestock facility includes livestock, livestock structures, the land on which they are located (it does not include pastures or winter grazing areas). Related livestock facilities (see definition below) are treated as a single livestock facility, for purposes of local approval. However:
  A separate species facility (see definition below) may be treated as a separate livestock facility, even if it is owned by the same person and located on the same land parcel as another livestock facility.
  A mere acquisition of a neighboring livestock facility does not constitute an expansion unless more animal units are added to the combined facilities.
Completing the Application
If local approval is required, complete this entire application form (including the worksheets). Follow the instructions in the application form. Attach all of the supplementary documentation required. Your application must be complete, credible and internally consistent.
The application form and worksheets ask for information to show compliance with Wisconsin livestock facility siting standards. A local government has very limited authority to modify the standards by local ordinance (modifications, if any, must be reflected in the local version of this application form).
As part of your application, you must specify the number of animal units that you will keep at a new or expanded livestock facility. If the local government approves your requested number, this will be the maximum number that you may keep for 90 days or more in any 12-month period.
A local government may require you to submit up to 4 duplicate copies of the complete application, worksheets, maps and other attachments. But you are not required to submit duplicate copies of engineering design specifications.
This application includes the following worksheets:
  Animal units (worksheet 1)
  Odor management (worksheet 2)
  Waste and nutrient management (worksheet 3)
  Waste storage facilities (worksheet 4)
  Runoff management (worksheet 5)
Complete the worksheets following all instructions (including those on each worksheet). You may use a convenient automated spreadsheet in place of Tables A and B of worksheet 2 if you prefer (results are identical). The spreadsheet is available at
If the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has issued a Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit for your proposed livestock facility, you can check a box on worksheets 3, 4 and 5, and submit a copy of that permit with the worksheets. A WPDES permit does not affect the requirements for completing worksheets 1 and 2.
A local government may require a fee to offset its reasonable costs to review and process this application. The fee, if any, must be established by local ordinance and may not exceed $1,000. A local government may NOT charge any other fee, or require you to post any bond or security.
Local Approval Process
If you complete the application properly, the local government MUST APPROVE the proposed livestock facility unless it finds, based on clear and convincing evidence in the local record, that the facility fails to meet the state standards.
Within 45 days after you submit your application, the local government must notify you whether your application is complete. If you failed to complete part of the application, you must submit the missing information. The local government must grant or deny the application within 90 days after it declares the application complete, and issue its decision in writing. The approval must include a duplicate copy of the approved application, marked “approved." The duplicate copy shall include all the worksheets, maps, and other attachments included in the application, with the exception of the engineering design specifications. The local government must make a record of its decision making process, and the evidence supporting its decision. The record must include your application.
Appeal of Local Decision
If you disagree with the local government's decision on your application, you may appeal that decision to the Wisconsin Livestock Facility Siting Review Board (“Board"). Other “aggrieved persons" may also appeal to the Board. An “aggrieved person" includes any person who resides or owns land within 2 miles of your proposed livestock facility.
You must file your appeal within 30 days after the local government issues its decision (or, if you pursue a local administrative appeal process first, within 30 days after that appeal process is complete). The Board will review the local decision based on the evidence in the local record (it will not hold a new hearing or accept new testimony or evidence). You must file your appeal in writing at the following address:
Wisconsin Livestock Facility Siting Review Board
c/o Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
P.O. Box 8911
Madison, WI 53708-8911
Terms Used in this Application Form
In this application form, you will see a number of italicized terms. Those terms are defined below (for more specific definitions, see ATCP 51):
“Adjacent" – Located on land parcels that touch each other, or on land parcels that are separated only by a river, stream, or transportation or utility right-of-way.
“Affected Neighbors" – Residences or high-use buildings within 2500 feet of any livestock structure at the proposed facility, other than those owned by the applicant or by persons who have agreed to exclude them from the applicant's odor score calculation. The total odor score for a livestock facility depends, in part, on the proximity and density of “affected neighbors."
“Animal housing area" – That portion of an animal housing structure to which animals have access, and in which manure may accumulate. “Animal housing area" includes free-stalls and travel lanes. It does NOT include holding areas, feed alleys, storage areas or milking parlors.
“Animal lot" - A feedlot, barnyard or other outdoor facility where livestock are concentrated for feeding or other purposes. Pastures and winter grazing areas are NOT “animal lots." Treat multiple “animal lots" as a single “animal lot" if runoff from the “animal lots" drains to the same treatment area or if runoff from the “animal lot" treatment areas converges or reaches the same surface water within 200 feet of any of those treatment areas.
“Animal units" – Equivalent units of livestock. The number of animals constituting an “animal unit" varies by species. For example, one milking dairy cow equals 1.4 “animal units." A beef animal over 600 lbs. equals 1.0 “animal units." A pig over 55 lbs. equals 0.4 “animal units." A laying chicken equals 0.01 “animal unit." The number of “animal units" kept at a livestock facility means the largest number of “animal units" that will be at the livestock facility on at least 90 days in any 12-month period. Calculate “animal units" according to worksheet 1.
“BARNY runoff model" – The Wisconsin version of a model that is commonly used to predict nutrient runoff from animal lots. An Excel computer spreadsheet version is available on the DATCP website (engineering directory).
“Certified agricultural engineering practitioner" – A practitioner who is properly qualified under ATCP 50.46.
“Cluster" – Any group of one or more livestock structures within a livestock facility. If you wish to do so, you may calculate separate odor scores for “clusters" that are separated by more than 750 feet.
“Complete application for local approval" – An application that contains everything required under ss. ATCP 51.30(1) to (4).
“DATCP" – Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The application form cites DATCP rules including Wis. Adm. Code chs. ATCP 51 (livestock facility siting), ATCP 50 (soil and water resource management) and ATCP 17 (livestock premises registration).
“DNR" – Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The application form cites DNR rules including Wis. Adm. Code chs. NR 243 (WPDES permits), NR 811 (community wells) and NR 812 (private wells).
“Expanded livestock facility" - The entire livestock facility created by an expansion, including new, existing and altered livestock structures (existing structures are subject to less rigorous standards). Your application must indicate the maximum number of animal units that you will keep at the “expanded livestock facility."
“Expansion" – An increase in the largest number of animal units kept at a livestock facility on at least 90 days in any 12-month period. The acquisition of an existing livestock facility, by the operator of an adjacent facility, is not an “expansion" unless the operator increases the largest number of animal units kept at the combined livestock facilities on at least 90 days in any 12-month period.
“High-use building" – A residential building that has at least 6 distinct dwelling units; a restaurant, hotel, motel, or tourist rooming house; a school building; a hospital or licensed care facility; or a non-farm business or workplace that is open at least 40 hours a week. The odor score for your livestock facility depends, in part, on the proximity and density of neighboring “high-use buildings."
“Karst features" – Sinkholes, fractured bedrock or like features that may result in direct pollution runoff to groundwater.
“Livestock" – Cattle, swine, poultry, sheep or goats.
“Livestock facility" – A feedlot, dairy farm, or other operation where livestock are or will be fed, confined, maintained, or stabled for a total of 45 days or more in any 12-month period. A “livestock facility" includes all of the tax parcels on which the facility is located, but it does NOT include a parcel used only for pasture or as a winter grazing area. Related livestock facilities are considered a single “livestock facility," except a livestock operator may elect to treat a separate species facilities as a separate livestock facility.
“Livestock structure" – A building or structure such as a barn, milking parlor, feed storage facility, feeding facility, animal lot or waste storage structure. Pastures, winter grazing areas and machine sheds are NOT “livestock structures."
Published under s. 35.93, Stats. Updated on the first day of each month. Entire code is always current. The Register date on each page is the date the chapter was last published.