MPCA seeks comments from public on proposed beef feedlot expansion in Nobles County

Contact: Forrest Peterson, 320-441-6972

Marshall, Minn. — A Nobles County beef cattle producer is proposing to build a new feedlot near their existing feedlot southeast of Adrian in Olney Township. R&R Thier Feedlots Inc. is proposing to build two new, total confinement barns, each with a capacity of 3,000 steers.

As required by state rules, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) prepared an Environmental Assessment Worksheet on the proposed new feedlot and the most recent expansion at the existing feedlot. The public may submit written comments on the R&R Thier Feedlots Inc. EAW until 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 19, 2015.

A National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System/State Disposal System general permit for construction and operation of both the existing and new feedlot facilities will be on public notice concurrently.

New confinement barns at the proposed feedlot would be located about one-half mile west of the barns at the existing feedlot. After construction of the proposed feedlot, the total capacity including both feedlots will be 10,989 animal units, composed of 8,805 slaughter steers and 3,120 feeders.

State agencies use the EAW to help decide whether a more complete Environmental Impact Statement is needed. The EAW covers site location details, nearby resources and other elements, including wells, soil types, water use, manure management, air and odor emissions, and traffic.

Manure would be stored in reinforced concrete storage pits constructed below each of the new barns. At the existing farm, manure is stored in an under-barn storage pit and above-ground storage tank. The new farm also will include two engineered ponds to collect stormwater runoff.

Manure will be transferred and sold for cropland fertilizer. The manure application sites are located in Bigelow, Dewald, Larkin, Little Rock, Lorain, Magnolia, Olney, Ransom, Summit Lake, Vienna, Westside and Worthington townships in Minnesota and Wilson Township in Iowa.

The worksheet for this project is available by searching for “Environmental Assessment Worksheet” on the MPCA website. It’s also available by calling Beth Tegdesch at 651-757-2100. Comments, which must be in writing, should go to Nancy Drach at nancy.drach@state.mn.us, or mailed to her at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155-4194.

The draft NPDES/SDS permit will be posted on the MPCA Public Notice webpage. Comments on the NPDES/SDS permit can be sent to George Schwint, george.schwint@state.mn.us, 320-894-5866, or mailed to him at Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 1601 E. Hwy. 12, Willmar, MN 56201.