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Feedlot Rulemaking

UPDATE: Staff Recommendation for Feedlot Rule Amendments to be Adopted by the MPCA Citizens’ Board to be Presented for a Decision on April 22, 2014. 

MPCA staff will be recommending that the MPCA Citizens’ Board (Board) approve the Findings of Facts and Order Adopting Feedlot Rule Amendments during their regularly scheduled meeting on April 22, 2014. The amendments were initially-proposed on July 22, 2013, and have since been modified to incorporate changes made as a result of comments received during the public notice and public hearing process. In addition, changes have been made to address defects that the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found with the initially-proposed rules (see ALJ report below, dated Dec. 2, 2013).

Here is a copy of the MPCA final rule amendments recommended for adoption, together with the Findings of Fact and Order Adopting Rules:

For more information and a copy of the entire Board Packet, please see the MPCA Citizens’ Board webpage.


On July 22, 2013, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) formally proposed to adopt amendments to Minn. Rules Ch. 7020, the state rules governing animal feedlots. As identified in the Public Notice (link below), the proposed amendments are necessary to address law changes made by the Legislature in the 2011 Special Session, remove obsolete rule requirements, address other law changes adopted since Chapter 7020 was last revised in 2000, and to provide clarification to certain existing rules in Chapters 7020, 7001 and 7002.

The proposed amendments include:

  • Incorporation of new statutory language eliminating the need to hold a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit except as required by federal law, while maintaining the requirement for larger feedlots to hold an SDS permit;
  • Incorporating other new statutory requirements enacted since the feedlot rules were last revised, including new statutory pasture definitions and 10-year terms for SDS permits;
  • Clarification of administrative requirements for permits, including the process for issuance or denial of permits by delegated counties and modification of permits;
  • Removal of obsolete language, such as provisions governing older forms of permits, and expired transitional requirements, such as the “open lot agreement.

The MPCA received 79 written comments in response to the Public Notice, the majority of which requested a public hearing. Many of the comments were identical form letter requests for a public hearing, although farm organizations and environmental groups provided more detailed comments. On September 9, 2013, Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Ann O’Reilly conducted a public hearing at the MPCA St. Paul office, which was broadcast via interactive videoconference to several MPCA regional offices throughout the state.  A total of 35 persons attended the hearing. All comments submitted during the associated comment periods, including the public hearing process, are posted below.

On December 2, 2013, ALJ O’Reilly issued her Report. She found the proposed rule amendments, as modified by the MPCA in response to comments received, are necessary and reasonable, with the exception of 12 amendments that were determined to be ambiguous or otherwise defective. The MPCA subsequently drafted alternative rule language to address these deficiencies, then resubmitted the modified amendments to Chief ALJ Tammy Pust for review and approval on February 13, 2014. In her Order, dated, February 24, 2014, Chief ALJ Pust approved all but one of the MPCA’s proposed fixes to resolve the deficiencies. As explained in the Findings of Fact and Order Adopting Rules above, the MPCA has since withdrawn the proposed change that was not approved. The MPCA’s February 13, 2014 submittal and Chief ALJ Pust’s February 24, 2014 Order are posted below.

As identified above, the MPCA staff have finalized the rule amendments and will be recommending their adoption to the MPCA Citizens’ Board on April 22, 2014. The MPCA regulates the collection, transportation, storage, processing and utilization of animal manure and process wastewaters associated with the operation of animal feedlots. Since the 1970s, the MPCA has regulated feedlots primarily through permits, including National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, State Disposal System (SDS) permits, and construction short form and interim permits, the latter two also issued by counties under delegation from the MPCA.

Procedural Documents

July 22, 2013 (Initially-Proposed Rule Amendments and Associated Documents)

September 9, 2013, Public Hearing Exhibits and Comments

Comments Submitted to Office of Administrative Hearings during the Post-Hearing Comment Period (September 10-30, 2013)

Comments Submitted to Office of Administrative Hearings during the Post-Hearing Rebuttal Period (Oct. 1-7, 2013)

Office of Administrative Hearings Reports issued December 2, 2013

MPCA Submittal to OAH  (Feb. 13, 2014) and Chief Administrative Law Judge’s Order (Feb. 24, 2014)

Procedural History

The MPCA held a meeting with potentially affected stakeholders in November 2011, to discuss the changes made to the NPDES/SDS permitting requirements for feedlots during the 2011 Legislative Special Session and also the MPCA’s intention to commence formal rulemaking to modify Minn. R. ch.7020 accordingly. The MPCA subsequently published a Request for Comments regarding the rulemaking in the State Register on December 19, 2011, and received five comment letters in response. In September 2012, after preparing a preliminary draft of the rule amendments, the MPCA then announced and held two public meetings to discuss the draft amendments. One meeting was held in Mankato; the other in Waite Park. Thirty one persons attended the meetings. The MPCA has since finalized the draft rule amendments and the associated Statement of Need and Reasonableness, and completed the procedural steps required to formally propose the rule amendments.

Staff Contacts

Technical contact
Kim Brynildson
520 Lafayette Road N.
St. Paul, MN 55155-4194

Rulemaking contact
Kevin Molloy
520 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155-4194

Last modified on April 14, 2014 11:48