MADISON, Wis. (AP) — State environmental officials are proposing a blanket permit for giant farms.

Right now, anyone who wants to start a farm with more than 1,000 of what the Department of Natural Resources calls animal units, the equivalent of about 700 dairy cows, must obtain an individual permit from the agency.

The permits prohibit spreading liquid manure when the ground is frozen, among other things.

DNR regulators want to move to a general permit system for farms between 1,000 and 5,700 animal units. Farms with 300 to 999 animal units could be subject to a general permit if they have uncorrected pollution problems.

The permit's restrictions wouldn't change, but agency officials say the move would speed up the permit process. The agency plans to put the plan out for public hearings later this spring.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.