Contact: Cathy Rofshus, 507-206-2608, 1-800-657-3864
Mankato, Minn. — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) invites comments on an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) prepared for a proposed expansion by Asmus Eggs Farms, near Winthrop in Sibley County. Comments must be submitted in writing and are due by 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 14, 2011.
Owner Brian Asmus proposes to almost double the number of laying hens, from about 192,000 to 360,000. The expansion would include two additional barns, two manure-storage buildings, two water wells, and related infrastructure at 28242 505th Ave., Winthrop, Minn., which is in Section 2 of Alfsborg Township. The farm is surrounded by feedlots, cropland and several homes. The two closest homes are 100 feet from the site and are occupied by relatives of Asmus.
The existing farm has two barns, one manure-storage building, and one egg-packaging-and-storage area. Hens in the existing barns generate almost 9,000 tons of manure a year. Their manure is removed from the barns three times a week and stored until it is sold to area farmers for land application, except when cropland is in production.
Hens in the new barns will generate almost 6,600 tons of manure a year. The manure will be removed from the barns three to four days a week and stored in a separate building until it is sold to area farmers for land application in the spring or fall. An air drying system will dry the manure, reducing the number of flies and odors during storage. Drying and storing the manure will reduce the need to apply it to land during the winter.
Based on a computer-modeling study, the MPCA expects the expanded farm to comply with state air-quality standards, with odors below levels usually considered unpleasant.
Because the expansion will result in the farm using more than 5 million gallons of well water per year, Asmus is seeking the required water appropriation permit from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The egg farm is located 12 miles upstream from a section of the North Branch Rush River whose bacteria levels violate the state water-quality standard. Because Asmus sells his farm’s manure to area farmers, it is spread across much more land than a typical feedlot, minimizing the impact to rivers and lakes.
The EAW provides information about how the proposed project could affect the environment and helps determine whether an Environmental Impact Statement, a more comprehensive environmental review, is needed. Interested parties may comment on the EAW through Dec. 14.
Copies of the Asmus EAW are available at: MPCA St. Paul office, 520 Lafayette Road N.; and on the MPCA website at www.pca.state.mn.us.
Send questions and comments on the Asmus Eggs Farm EAW to Charles Peterson, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 520 Lafayette Road N., Saint Paul MN 55155-4194. Peterson can also be reached by phone at 651-757-2856 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the environmental worksheet, this project requires a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System/State Disposal System permit. These permits are also open for public comment.