Environmental review of proposed hog feedlot in Murray County open for public comment

Contact: Forrest Peterson, 320-979-1776

Marshall, Minn. — Josh Bonnstetter proposed to build a new 4,800-head hog finishing feedlot in Section 24 of Lowville Township, about five miles northwest of Slayton in Murray County. It will have one total confinement barn with a below-ground concrete liquid manure storage area, a mortality storage building, a stormwater infiltration basin, and a water well.

As required by state rules, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) prepared an Environmental Assessment Worksheet on the proposal. The public may submit written comments on the Bonnstetter EAW until 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019.

State agencies use the EAW to help decide whether a project requires a more extensive Environmental Impact Statement. The EAW covers site location details, nearby resources and other elements, including wells, soil types, water use, manure management, air and odor emissions, and traffic.

An estimated total of nearly 1.6 million gallons of liquid manure will be produced annually and stored in a reinforced concrete pit below the barn. Following a MPCA-approved manure management plan, in the fall Bonnstetter will agitate and pump out the manure from the pit.

A Commercial Animal Waste Technician, licensed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, will be hired to land-apply manure after fall harvest. This must follow state and county setbacks from surface waters and residences.

About 856 acres of cropland are available for manure land-application among five sites in Lowville Township and one site in Mason Township. Bonnstetter must submit an annual report to the MPCA on manure production, land application, and any discharges.

The project will use a variety of practices to minimize potential adverse odor and air emissions impacts, such as cleaning ventilation and pit exhaust fans, and only agitating stored manure right before it’s removed for land application.

The worksheet for this project is available on the MPCA Environmental Review webpage. It’s also available by calling Steve Sommer at 651-757-2746. Written comments may be sent by email to steve.sommer@state.mn.us, or mailed to him at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155-4194.

The application for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) operating permit for the new feedlot will be open for public comment concurrently. The application for permit coverage under the NPDES general permit will be available on the MPCA Public Notices webpage.  For more information contact Klayton VanOverbeke, 507-476-4276, klatyton.vanoverbeke@state.mn.us.