MPCA conducts environmental assessment for proposed swine feedlot expansion in Nobles County

Contact: Lauren Lewandowski, 612-270-9615

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) released its draft permit and an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) for Aggen Farms’ proposed expansion of its swine facility in Nobles County. The expansion would double the existing feedlot from 2,400 to 4,800 hogs.

The project will include a total-confinement finishing barn over an eight-foot deep manure storage area, a small office building, and a stormwater infiltration basin. Total confinement operations reduce the potential for air and odor emissions compared to open-air feedlots. If the permit is approved, Aggen Farms expects to begin construction in spring 2021.

Each year, an estimated 1.5 million gallons of manure from the farm will be spread after fall harvest on crop fields located within two miles of the feedlot, in Summit Lake Township. Manure application should take five days or less.

Aggen Farms will also take measures prevent runoff into Kanaranzi Creek to protect the Topeka Shiner (a rare type of minnow), a federally listed endangered species that has been found in the creek.

State agencies use the EAW to help decide whether a more extensive environmental impact statement is needed. The EAW describes the project’s potential effects on nearby land uses, geography, bodies of water or groundwater, and wildlife and habitat. It also details air and vehicle emissions, dust, traffic, noise, odors, and greenhouse gas emissions that the project might produce.

The MPCA estimated that total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the Aggen Farm feedlot expansion would equal approximately 2,060 tons of carbon dioxide per year, doubling their current 1,030 tons per year. The agency made the estimate using a calculator developed by the U.S. EPA, which takes into account emissions from animal digestion (methane), manure storage (methane and nitrous oxide), and manure land application (nitrous oxide) and then converts the tons per source to tons of carbon dioxide for ease of reporting and comparing.

The project’s environmental assessment worksheet and draft NPDES permit are available on the MPCA web site. Request copies of the documents from or send written comments by 4:30 pm. on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020 to:

  • Environmental assessment worksheet: Kevin Kain (651-757-2856) MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road North, St. Paul, MN 55155-4194.
  • Feedlot permit: Klayton VanOverbeke (507-476-4276) 504 Fairgrounds Rd, Suite 200, Marshall, MN 56258

For more information on greenhouse gas emissions in feedlot environment review, visit the MPCA web site.