Proposed new feedlot permit includes new water quality protections from land-applied manure

Contact: Forrest Peterson, 320-979-1776

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) today released its draft five-year feedlot general permit, which covers about 1,200 large feedlots in Minnesota.

The proposed permit includes new measures to limit the leaching of nitrates from manure spread on farm fields. It extends the required cover crop period for manure application to October. Cover crops are required to mitigate the risk of nutrient pollution to groundwater and surface waters from manure. The current permit requires cover crops June through August.

The draft permit also restricts manure applications in September and October. Producers must wait until the soil is colder than 50 degrees F to apply manure in October, or use other practices such as cover crops, split applications of nitrogen, or nitrification inhibitors.

Lastly, the draft permit includes streamlined record-keeping requirements, revised permit format, and the online application process will save feedlot owners time.

The draft permit is open for public review and comment through Thursday, July 23, 2020.

The MPCA regulates feedlot operations using the Clean Water Act, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and State Disposal System (SDS) permits to comply with state law and the federal Clean Water Act. A general permit covers facilities whose operations are similar and is an efficient way for the MPCA to issue permit coverage, compared with issuing individual permits. It’s designed to protect water quality, primarily from the storage and land application of manure from feedlots of generally more than 1,000 animal units.

The new permit will become effective Feb. 21, 2021. The draft permit will be posted on the MPCA’s public notices webpage, and linked from the feedlot program permit webpage. The MPCA is accepting written comments on the draft permit until 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 23, 2020.

Send written comments to or request information from George Schwint (320-894-5866), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 12 Civic Center Plaza, Ste. 2165, Mankato, MN, 56001. Comments must state your interest in the permit, the action you wish the MPCA to take including specific references, and specific reasons supporting your position.

A recording of one of the virtual information meetings held by the MPCA on the proposed permit is available on the MPCA feedlot permit webpage. Learn more about public-participation opportunities on the MPCA website.