MPCA releases environmental review of proposed swine farm expansion in Nobles County

Forrest Peterson, 320-979-1776

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) today released its environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) for the expansion of the Van Ede swine farm in Nobles County. The proposal would add a second finishing barn, increasing the facility’s total capacity from 2,400 to 4,800 swine between 55 and 300 pounds.

Proposed construction includes one 192 by 102-foot total confinement barn with an eight-foot-deep manure pit underneath, and an office/loadout building between the two barns. The farm is located about three miles northwest of Adrian.

An estimated 1.5 million gallons of liquid manure produced annually at the facility would be stored in pits with capacity for approximately 1.8 million gallons. A commercial animal waste technician would spread the manure on farm fields in a manner approved by the MPCA, to ensure there is no excess nutrient buildup in the soil.

The manure will be spread on up to 870 acres in the fall after the crops have been harvested or in the spring before crops have been planted. The manure application sites are within four miles in Nobles and Rock counties.

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.

As part of the EAW, the MPCA estimated that the proposed project would emit greenhouse gases (GHGs) equal to approximately 2,066 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 land application of manure replaces nutrients that farmers would otherwise provide with chemical fertilizers, so it offsets emissions from manufacturing the fertilizers

In addition to the environmental assessment, the MPCA released Van Ede’s application for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) operating permit for the expanded 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 Charles Peterson (651-757-2856), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155-4194 by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15, 2020.