Hog facility in Mower County looking to expand production, environmental review underway

Contact: Cathy Rofshus, 507-206-2608

Deer Creek Run proposes to expand its hog production facility about six miles east of Grand Meadow in Mower County. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is accepting comment on an environmental review of the proposed expansion through Sept. 6.

The current facility in Section 15 of Frankford Township consists of two total confinement barns that house up to 2,150 swine. Kevin Hugoson of Deer Creek Run proposes to build three additional barns, bringing the total number of swine at the facility up to 7,729. 

The swine would produce about 3.1 million gallons of liquid manure annually that would be stored in reinforced concrete pits below the barns.  The concrete pits have a total capacity of nearly 16 million gallons to include liquid manure and wash water. The facility would remove the manure in fall for injection into cropland as fertilizer following an MPCA-approved manure management plan.

The facility plans to use 21 manure application sites in Frankford and Racine townships.  These sites are within three miles of the facility and are currently in crop rotation.  The manure application is a replacement for commercial fertilizer.

There are 24 homes within one mile of the facility and 23 existing feedlots within three square miles around it, in a mainly agricultural area. The Deer Creek Campground and Deer Creek Speedway are within one mile of the project site, and the Four Daughters Winery within 1.3 miles.

Deer Creek, a tributary to the Root River, is less than half a mile from the facility. This area has a unique landscape called karst, where a thin layer of soil covers the porous limestone bedrock in many places. Water eats away at the bedrock, creating caves, sinkholes and other features. There are two potential sinkholes near the project site, and 12 known sinkholes within a mile. MPCA feedlot permits require a 100-foot setback from all known karst features, including sinkholes, during manure application.

According to a study of air emissions from the expanded facility, it would meet air quality standards and odor guidelines. This study also took into account the surrounding feedlots and accumulative effects.   

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

The worksheet for this project is available on the MPCA's Environmental Assessment Worksheet webpage. It is also available by calling Beth Tegdesch at 651-757-2100. Written comments may be sent to Patrice Jensen by email to patrice.jensen@state.mn.us, or mailed to her at the MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155-4194.

Deer Creek Run has also applied for coverage under the state’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit, meaning the facility agrees to meet certain conditions designed to protect the environment. This coverage is also open for public comment through Sept. 6. For more information, go to the MPCA Public Notice webpage and scroll down to Aug. 7. Paul Brietzke of the MPCA will be accepting written comments on the permit coverage by email at paul.brietzke@state.mn.us or by mail to the MPCA, 18 Wood Lake Drive SE,  Rochester, MN 55904.

This project will also require a conditional use permit from Mower County.