New Richland-area hog farm proposes doubling production; environmental review underway

Contact: Cathy Rofshus, 507-206-2608

Hi-Way 30 Hogs proposes to double its swine finishing facility about 4 miles west of New Richland in Waseca County, from 2,400 to 4,800 hogs. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is accepting comments on an environmental review of the proposed expansion through Aug. 23.

The facility in Section 15 of Byron Township currently has one barn that holds up to 2,400 swine. Keith Schlaak of Hi-Way 30 Hogs proposes to build a second barn for the additional swine. The swine would produce about 1.7 million gallons of liquid manure annually that would be stored in reinforced concrete pits below the barns, with a total capacity of nearly 2.2 million gallons. The manure would be removed in the manure in the fall and injected into cropland as fertilizer, following an MPCA-approved manure management plan.

There are eight homes within 1 mile of the facility and six existing feedlots within 3 square miles around the facility, in a mainly agricultural area. The proposer plans to use four manure application sites — already cropped and fertilized with manure — for the project, all within 2 miles of the facility and in Byron Township. The facility and manure application sites are all in the Le Sueur River watershed.

According to a study of air emissions from the expanded facility, it would meet air quality standards and odor guidelines. This study also took into account the surrounding feedlots and cumulative effects.

State agencies use an Environmental Assessment Worksheet to help decide whether a project requires a more extensive Environmental Impact Statement. 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.

The worksheet for this project is available on the MPCA's Environmental Assessment Worksheet webpage. It is also available by calling Kevin Kain at 651-757-2482. Written comments may be sent by email to kevin.kain@state.mn.us, or mailed to him at the MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155-4194.

The proposer has also applied for coverage under the state’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit, meaning the facility agrees to meet certain conditions designed to protect the environment. This coverage is also open for public comment through Aug. 21. For more information, go to the MPCA Public Notice webpage and scroll down to July 21. Will Martens of the MPCA will be accepting written comments on the permit coverage by email at william.martens@state.mn.us or my mail to MPCA, 12 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 2165, Mankato, MN 56001.

This project will also require a conditional use permit from Waseca County.