Commercial Animal Waste Technician (CAWT) Licensing

Minnesota law requires companies, site managers, and applicators that manage or apply manure for-hire to obtain a Commercial Animal Waste Technician (CAWT) license from the MDA. “For-hire” means customers are billed or invoiced for services.


Determine License Type

The MDA issues three types of CAWT licenses. Each license type is described in the table below.

License Type Description
CAWT Company A license is required for a company that commercially manages for-hire applications of animal waste. The company must also employ a CAWT Site Manager. The company license number must be displayed on application equipment.
CAWT Site Manager A person employed by a CAWT Company to manage site operations, supervise CAWT Applicators and manage livestock manure. A Site Manager must be licensed in a specific category (liquid, solid or both). Licensed Site Managers do not need a CAWT Applicator license to apply manure to the ground.
CAWT Applicator A CAWT Applicator must be licensed by MDA and operate under the supervision of a licensed CAWT Site Manager.

CAWT License Requirements

A license is required for:

  • A commercial or a for-hire application when money or other compensation is exchanged to manage or apply manure to the ground;
  • A private producer applying their own manure when they have a capacity of 300 animal units or more, and do NOT have an updated manure management plan; or
  • A commercial (for-hire) operation that stockpiles or manages manure.

A licensed person must:

  • Carry a valid CAWT license card (either the electronic facsimile or the plastic wallets-sized card).
  • Attend an MDA approved recertification workshop within the year listed on the license card, or
  • Retest during the license renewal period (after renewal letter is received) and pay all required fees.

Other key requirements:

  • CAWT Site Managers must certify for a license by passing an open book exam in the appropriate category (liquid, solid or both)
  • CAWT Applicators must work under the supervision of a licensed CAWT Site Manager
  • CAWT Applicators and Site Managers must work under a licensed CAWT Company
  • CAWT Company must employ at least one Site Manager
  • CAWT Company must display license number on all equipment at least 3 inches tall with high contrast colors
  • All CAWT Applicators, Site Managers, and Companies are responsible for proper manure management or application

Applications and Recordkeeping

For information on manure applications and record keeping please review the information on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency website.

Timing Animal Waste Applications

The MDA has teamed up with the National Weather Service to design a tool that helps farmers and commercial applicators determine the best time to apply manure. The Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast tool is available to use now.