Citizen's guide to feedlots

Hogs in a pen

In Minnesota there were about 18,000 feedlots in operation during the 2010-2014 registration period. All feedlots capable of holding 50 or more animal units (or 10 in shoreland areas) must be registered. MPCA rules govern the collection, transportation, storage, processing, and disposal of animal manure and other livestock operation wastes. The rules apply to most aspects of livestock management including the location, design, construction, operation, and management of feedlots and manure handling facilities.

The goal of the MPCA Feedlot Program is to protect lakes, river, streams, and wetlands by:

  • Ensuring feedlot manure or manure in a storage area does not run into water.
  • Preventing water contamination from manure applied to cropland. The MPCA sets the rates, times, and methods for applying manure to the land.

The MPCA provides technical assistance to farmers, and conducts inspections at feedlots to be certain they comply with environmental requirements, properly contain manure, and have adequate manure management plans. Staff focus on feedlots and manure storage areas that have the greatest potential for environmental impact.

To find out if there are feedlots in your area, visit What's in My Neighborhood, which shows all the registered feedlots in the state.

Delegated county program

In 53 of Minnesota's 87 counties, feedlot oversight is a cooperative effort between the MPCA and county government. County feedlot programs do registration, permitting, inspections, assistance, and complaint follow-up for facilities with fewer than 1,000 animal units or those that do not require federal permits. Delegated counties receive state grants to help fund their programs. Funds are awarded based on the number of feedlots in the county and the level of inspections completed.

Learn more: PDF icon Feedlot program overview (wq-f1-01)

Groundwater protection

Many Minnesotans are concerned that feedlots could affect the supply of groundwater and manure storage basins could affect groundwater quality. 

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