MPCA releases environmental review of proposed poultry farm in Meeker County

Contact: Forrest Peterson, 320-979-1776

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) today released its environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) for the proposed Forsman Farms, Inc. poultry farm in Meeker County. Forsman Farms proposes to build and operate a new 1.65 million-layer hens and pullets facility in Harvey Township, about four miles north of Litchfield.

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

At the proposed facility, Forsman Farms will dry the estimated 40,200 tons of wet manure produced each year, resulting in 16,000 tons of pelletized manure to be sold as crop fertilizer. The pelletized manure would be applied to an estimated 6,400 acres of cropland. Forsman Farms will submit an annual report to the MPCA on manure production, land application, and any manure discharges.

As part of the EAW, the MPCA estimated that the proposed project would emit greenhouse gases equal to approximately 17,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. The agency made the estimate using a calculator developed by MPCA based on data from the U.S. EPA, which takes into account emissions from manure storage (methane and nitrous oxide) and manure land application (nitrous oxide), then converts the tons per source to tons of carbon dioxide for ease of reporting and comparing.

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.

Forsman Farms will use a variety of methods to minimize potential odor and air emissions, such as enclosed buildings to store feed and manage and process manure. To reduce noise and dust, barn fans will blow into an enclosed chimney system. Forsman Farms will reduce dust from daily traffic and operations by paving all roads and parking areas, and with good housekeeping practices.

In addition to the environmental assessment, the MPCA released Forsman Farms’ application for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) operating permit for the new feedlot. It’s available on the MPCA Public Notices webpage. The 48-page permit lists requirements for construction and operation, including manure management, inspections, and record-keeping.

The project’s EAW and NPDES permit are now open for public comment. Review the EAW on the MPCA Environmental Review webpage. Request a copy of the EAW from or send written comments to Jenna Ness (651-757-2276), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155-4194 by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10, 2020.