J&B Feedlot allowed discharges from unpermitted lots, manure stockpiles near 7 Mile Creek

Contact: Stephen Mikkelson, 218-316-3887

According to a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) enforcement investigation, J&B Feedlot near Motley allowed discharges from unpermitted lots and stockpiles of manure and feed within the shoreland of 7 Mile Creek. The feedlot’s owner, Joe Varner, failed to notify the MPCA of the discharges and allowed them to continue through the spring thaw of 2019.

Other violations included:

  • Failing to operate and maintain feed storage areas according to permit requirements, which resulted in discharges from the area.
  • Failing to modify its permit during an expansion of open lots and expanding into shoreland.
  • Allowing animals access to 7 Mile Creek.
  • Locating manure stockpiles on sanding loam soils that are not approved or suited for storage.

In addition to paying a $20,197 civil penalty to the MPCA, Mr. Varner has completed a series of corrective actions, including:

  • Stopping all discharges, removing manure stockpiles, and repairing feed storage areas.
  • Removing cattle from all unpermitted lots and one permitted lot near shoreland.
  • Maintaining vegetative cover on one designated lot, according to the plans and specifications that were submitted with the permit application.
  • Maintaining and operating the facility in accordance with the feedlot permit.

MPCA rules and regulations are designed to protect human health and the environment by limiting pollution emissions and discharges from facilities. When companies do not fully comply with regulatory requirements, the resulting pollution can be harmful to people and the environment.

When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violations affected or could have affected the environment, and whether they were first-time or repeat violations. The agency also attempts to recover the economic benefit the company gained by failing to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.