Feedlot expansions in county may slow down

Area livestock producers are planning three new hog barn sites, three cattle barns and one dairy feedlot expansion for 2020.

Three additional hog barns are in the planning process, according to county feedlot officer Doug Bos, who presented the county’s 2019 Feedlot Summary Report to county commissioners.

“Challenges with the coronavirus may slow this down,” Bos said.

The number of proposed feedlot permits is slightly higher than last year when the county saw four new hog barns, one new cattle barn and two cattle feedlot expansions completed. In 2018 there were 14 expansions including nine new hog barn sites.

The Land Management Office oversees Rock County’s 620 feedlots for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Of these, 529 are registered with a capacity to raise 50 animal units or more.

For the oversight, LMO received $52,935 from the state with an additional $13,600 based on the added inspections staff members completed last year.

Each year, LMO staff inspects 7 percent (about 37 sites) of the county’s feedlots.

In 2019, 51 sites were inspected.

The increased number is due to rain events in 2018 and 2019 that caused some manure pits to overflow. Producers are required to report the manure spills and divert the overflow away from streams and field tile intakes.

“As long as manure storage lagoons are built to MPCA standards — which they are in Rock County — farmers do not have to add additional measures (other than to divert),” Bos said.

Feedlot numbers have remained constant for the past two decades. Bos noted that those feedlots under 50 animal units are declining, replaced by feedlots that require registration in the county.

 

 

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