Department of Environmental Conservation

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Organics Managment for Farms

A black and white cow standing in the barn yard

The feeding of breads from grocery stores and bakeries to animals on farms has occurred for decades. It can provide a source of nutrients to the animal feed diet and can be balanced with other feed sources. Similarly, some pre-consumer food scraps, such as fruits and vegetables from certain grocery stores, are being taken to farms in New York State for animal feed. This is also done with whey from the manufacturing of Greek yogurt. These food materials can save farms money in reduced feed costs. The amounts fed to the animals must be appropriate for their dietary needs and the storage prior to feeding must be conducted in a manner that does not impact water resources.

Feed Food Scraps to Animals in New York State - Legal Fact Sheet (PDF, 308 KB)

Generators that plan to send food scraps for animal feeding must seek a beneficial use determination from the Department of Environmental Conservation. In addition, feeding pigs, cattle, swine and poultry is regulated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (leaving DEC's website) under Article 5 Section 72-a (leaving DEC's website). Under this law feeding these animals certain food scraps, referred to as garbage is prohibited, while other types are allowed.

"… certain discarded foods are NOT considered garbage: dairy and cheese waste, including outdated foodstuffs removed from supermarkets (except meat products); outdated eggs, stale baked goods; discarded vegetables and fruit. These foods may be collected and fed to swine."