In an industry win, farmers will not have to do extra paperwork when receiving animal manure on their farm, even as the Environmental Protection Act comes into effect on July 1.
Under the new act, manure is to be reclassified as industrial waste; however, an EPA determination has ruled that farmers will not face any additional regulatory frameworks regarding application techniques when the act becomes law.
The EPA's determination came about after negotiations between the Victorian Farming Federation, other industry bodies and the EPA.
However, the determination only applies when animal manure is used as a 'soil amendment' and 'for irrigation' when manure is transferred between properties.
In a statement, the EPA has said it has instituted a "low burden process" for managing on farm use of manures.
"Farmers do not need EPA permission to supply or accept and use manures if they meet the specifications in the determination, unless they are engaged in industries such as recycling and processing," the statement read.
"Under the Determinations process, farmers will not have to fill out forms just to use fertilizer as manure... so long as it poses no risk to the environment."
VFF president, Emma Germano, has welcomed the decision.
"The determination means that if you are doing the right thing on farm when receiving and utilising animal manure, you do not have to change your practices and you do not have to complete any additional paperwork," Ms Germano said.
"Animal manure is an important part of many of our farming systems and farmers are experienced at managing its use and application."
Despite the acknowledgement of farmers' concerns, the VFF said it should keep fighting the reclassification.
"The VFF has made clear to the Victorian Government that the classification of manure as industrial waste is inappropriate and does not respect the role of manure in modern farming systems and carbon cycling,' Ms Germano said.
"Amendment of the EPA Act to create a new classification for animal manure that respects its role as a beneficial waste remains a key priority for the VFF."
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