MPCA seeks comments from public on proposed hog feedlot in Nicollet County

Contact: Forrest Peterson, 320-441-6972

Mankato, Minn. — Rebco Pork Inc. is proposing to build a hog feedlot southeast of Courtland in Nicollet County. The feedlot would consist of two total-confinement barns, each with 2,400 hogs. Manure would be stored in reinforced concrete pits under each barn.

As required by state rules, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) completed an Environmental Assessment Worksheet on the proposed feedlot. The public may comment on the proposed feedlot EAW until 4:30 p.m. on July 8, 2015.

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

Manure management is one concern with feedlots. According to the EAW, the feedlot would generate 1.7 million gallons of manure per year. The total manure storage capacity would be 2.7 million gallons, with the extra storage designed to prevent overflow problems.

In the fall, the manure would be pumped to tankers for application to 893 acres of cropland as fertilizer. Farmers accepting manure must follow all manure application setbacks to avoid impacts to sensitive areas, such as wildlife management areas. MPCA guidelines require incorporation of manure within 24 hours of application.

The new feedlot would be in section 12 of Courtland Township, southeast of Courtland, in an area zoned for agriculture. Nicollet County Zoning Ordinance 715.4 specifies that new animal feedlots maintain a minimum setback of one-eighth mile from neighboring residences and one-half mile from schools and private schools, excluding home school sites or churches. Sixteen residences, one church and cemetery, and a private school are located within one mile of the proposed feedlot. The nearest neighbor is one-third mile northwest of the site.

Air quality is another concern with feedlots. Based on a computer simulation, the new feedlot would meet state air quality standards and would not significantly increase odors. The project is located to minimize potential adverse odor and air emissions impacts.

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 Charles Peterson at charles.peterson@state.mn.us, or mailed to him at MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N., Saint Paul, MN 55155-4194.

In addition to the EAW, the MPCA’s draft feedlot operating permit is available for public comment. Comments must be in writing and should be submitted to Richard Gruenes, richard.gruenes@state.mn.us, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N., Saint Paul, MN 55155-4194. The National Pollution Disposal Elimination System permit is available by going to the MPCA Public Notices webpage. All comments must be received by 4:30 p.m. on July 8.