MPCA releases environmental review, draft permit for proposed 16,300-head swine feedlot in Norman County

Contact: Dan Olson, 218-846-8108

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) today released its draft permit and an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) for Barrick Family Farms’ proposed swine facility in Norman County, about four miles east of Lockhart. The facility will accommodate approximately 16,300 hogs (6,600 under 55 lbs., 4,928 from 55 to 300 lbs., and 4,800 more than 300 lbs.)

The project will include two total confinement barns, each with a 12-foot deep, concrete, below-barn liquid manure storage area; a composting shed; a stormwater infiltration basin; and a new well producing 13 million gallons of water per year for livestock and employee use. Total confinement operations reduce the potential for air and odor emissions. If the permit is approved, Barrick Farms expects to complete construction in fall 2020.

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, and odors that the project might produce.

As part of the EAW, the MPCA estimated that total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the Barrick Family Farm feedlot would equal approximately 13,300 tons of carbon dioxide 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.

In January 2020, the MPCA determined that it will estimate GHG emissions for all large feedlot projects that require environmental review. The MPCA uses GHG emissions inventories in other environmental reviews, including for energy and ethanol projects. The Environmental Quality Board (EQB) is also studying how state and local governments can effectively use environmental review to consider potential climate impacts.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) identified one or more calcareous fens (a rare type of wetland sensitive to changes in water availability) within five miles of the proposed well for the project. Barrick Farms applied for a DNR water appropriation permit to use the well.

Each year, an estimated 13 million gallons of manure from the farm will be spread after fall harvest on fields located within four miles of the feedlot, in Lockhart and Spring Creek townships. Manure application will take five days or less.

The project’s environmental assessment worksheet and draft NPDES permit are available on the MPCA web site. Request copies of the documents from or sent written comments by 4:30 pm. on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020 to:

  • Environmental assessment worksheet — Kevin Kain (651-757-2482) MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road North, St. Paul, MN 55155-4194
  • Feedlot permit — Molly Costin (218-846-8114) MPCA, 714 Lake Ave., Ste. 220, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501

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