Feedlot Update - September 2015

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a webpage.
Feedlot Update

Sept. 9, 2015

Legislative Water Commission tours water quality certified dairy in Stearns County

klaverkamp farm

Members of the Legislative Water Commission visited the Dean Klaverkamp dairy farm near St. Cloud Aug. 18 to see the improvements that led to an Agricultural Water Quality Certification. Previously, manure and sediment from the 200-cow farm affected nearby Johnson Creek. Working with the Stearns SWCD, the Klaverkamps installed a manure stacking slab, slurry store, concrete settling basin, and vegetated treatment area. A stream crossing and fencing keep cows from entering the stream, which is bordered by a vegetated buffer. "There really was no downside to it (certification)," says Dean, "because we already were doing most of the work." 

The Legislative Water Commission was created by the 2014 legislature (Chap. 312, Sec. 3) to "review water policy reports and recommendations of the Environmental Quality Board, the Board of Water and Soil Resources, the Pollution Control Agency, the Department of Natural Resources, the Metropolitan Council, and other water-related reports as may be required by law or the legislature." Current members are: Sen. Bev Scalze, Co-ChairRep. Paul Torkelson, Co-ChairSen. Roger ChamberlainRep. David BlySen. Gary DahmsRep. Matt DeanSen. Carrie RuudRep. Peter FischerSen. Matt SchmitRep. Rod HamiltonSen. Charles Wiger; and Rep. Clark Johnson. Other stops on the Aug. 18 tour included the St. Cloud wastewater treatment plant, Golden Plump, and a Discovery Farm near Sauk Centre.

Photo (L-R): Mark Lefebvre, Stearns SWCD; Marcie Weinandt, MDA; Dean Klaverkamp; Dennis Fuchs, Stearns SWCD.

Back to top

Feedlot inventory completed in West Fork Des Moines

feedlot inventory

The Heron Lake Watershed District (HLWD) recently completed a four-year project to inventory feedlots in the West Fork Des Moines River (WFDMR) watershed. The project, funded by a 319 grant, was part of the implementation plan of a Total Maximum Daily Load study for the WFDMR and Heron Lake. "The watershed is plagued with waters impaired with high E.coli levels," states the report. "Runoff from feedlots is a major contributor to E.coli in surface waters."

The inventory helps to identify sources of bacteria and nutrient loading from feedlots. HLWD and project partners will use the inventory as a basis for grant applications. It is hoped that this will lead to cost-share and other assistance for improvements to feedlots.  "Open feedlots that are non-compliant with high indexes should be targeted for implementing feedlot fixes. Reducing open feedlot runoff from these sites will be the most beneficial in reducing E.coli levels in impaired streams," states the report.

More than 80% of the feedlots were inspected: 44 in Cottonwood County, 142 in Nobles County, 190 in Jackson County, and 216 in Murray County for a total of 592. MinnFARM (Minnesota Feedlot Annualized Runoff Model) was used to determine compliance for open feedlots and assign a priority index. Results showed that the majority of open lots inspected were not compliant. See a summary of the report on the HLWD website

Back to top

NPDES general permit for 2016-21 available soon

The new National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit for livestock farms covering 2016-2021 is expected to be available soon. The public comment period, which ended Aug. 26, drew only one comment from a consultant. No changes to the draft permit are expected. Applications for the permit should be submitted by Sept. 15, or as soon as possible thereafter.

A NPDES permit is required for any facility that currently has capacity, or is proposing to have capacity, that meets or exceeds any one of the federal large confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) thresholds and discharges to waters of the United States. Discharge means the addition of a pollutant to waters. Common discharges include the release of animal manure or manure-contaminated runoff or process wastewater from an open lot, manure storage area, land application site, or feed storage area. For more information, see the summary, "NPDES and SDS permits for feedlots."

Provisions of the permit include:

  • Contains both state and federal requirements for construction, operation, and maintenance.
  • Issued for a five-year term.
  • Authorizes a discharge to waters of the United States due to excessive rainfall events.
  • Compliance with the land application requirements of the permit assure that a discharge related to land application activities will qualify for the agricultural stormwater exemption afforded within federal rule.
  • Separate NPDES construction stormwater permit coverage is not required.
  • Specific stormwater requirements are included within feedlot permit.

The permit will be available on the MPCA Public Notices webpage, and at regional offices. For more information contact Kim Brynildson, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Rd. N., St. Paul, MN 55155, kim.brynildson@state.mn.usThe current NPDES/SDS general permit expires Jan. 31, 2016.

Back to top

Be sure to use correct forms for NPDES permit application, manure management plan

Livestock producers seeking the 2016-2021 NPDES general permit coverage for new construction, expansion, or continuing permit coverage are reminded to use the most current application form, and the MPCA's Manure Management Planner spreadsheet. The current forms are available on the MPCA website, and at regional offices.

According to the permit, applications for renewal of existing permits should occur Aug. 6, or 180 days prior to the Jan. 31, 2016 expiration of the current permit. However, to allow more time to review the new permit, this timeline for permit renewal application is being extended to Sept. 15.

The 2016-2021 NPDES general permit application, emergency response plan and the Manure Management Planner are available on the MPCA feedlot program permit information and application forms webpage, and at regional offices. Livestock producers who submit an application will be notified by letter when the application is received.

Livestock farms that meet the federal definition of a large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation and that have a discharge to a water of the U.S. are required to have an NPDES permit to correct the discharge. More information on the NPDES and SDS permits for feedlots is available in a fact sheet: "NPDES and SDS permits for feedlots - determining when a permit is required." 

Tips for updating your manure management plan

  1. Download and use the MPCA excel MMP, which has recently been updated. Computer tools for planning and record-keeping and Spreadsheet: Manure Management Planner are located on the manure management webpage.
  2. Use the information listed on your manure application records when updating an MMP.
    A. On the first page of the planner – actual manure generated numbers should be used based on your records.
    B. Also for manure analysis, use actual sample results. Make sure you are listing the total nutrients in lbs/1,000 gal. or lbs/ton. Do not use any estimated first year available nutrient numbers.
    C. Manure that was applied in the fall of 2014 and spring 2015 will provide a second year nitrogen credit for the 2016 crop. This 2nd year has to be included in the plan.
  3. Include all planned fertilizer applications for nitrogen and phosphorus, ie starter – or any nitrogen mixed in with herbicides and any others.
  4. Aerial photos or maps of the land application fields must be included.  Please outline each field and ID the field as it is ID in the MMP. Plus include on the map the name of the County – Township – and Section number that the map or photo is representing.

Back to top

Delegated county program news

Counties welcome new staff

More than a dozen delegated counties have welcomed new feedlot program staff during the past year: Blue Earth - Christopher Meeks, Brown - Robert Santaella, Joan Doss, Cottonwood - Jared Morrill, Becky Alexander, Dodge - Chad Knudsen, Douglas - Mae Petrehn, East Polk - Lisa Newton and Jonah Olson, Faribault - Chad Viland, Jackson - Brooke Burmeister, Kittson - Justin Muller, Marshall - Brett Brandon, McLeod - Emily Gable, Pennington - Levy Bergstrom, Waseca - Garett Rohlfing, and Winona - Emily Bartusek. 

MACFO conference Nov. 4-6 in Owatonna

The 14th annual conference of the Minnesota Association of County Feedlot Officers is scheduled for Nov. 4-6 at the Owatonna Holiday Inn. Education and training topics include: Updates from the Dept. of Agriculture on Certified Animal Waste Technicians, foreign animal disease, and nitrogen study; manure management plan reviews; legal update; and Association of Minnesota Counties update. The full agenda and registration form are posted on the MACFO webpage.

A field tour will visit a family-owned dairy farm in Steele County. The Balzers recently built a new 120-head free stall dairy barn with two Lely robotic milking units. The barn is fully enclosed and mechanically ventilated. All manure is scraped by automatic units to a holding tank where the solids are separated. The liquid is transferred to a slurry store and the solids are used as a bedding pack in the stalls. The facility uses an overhead conveyance system to distribute the solids into the stalls.

Back to top

State prepares for possible avian flu in fall

bird flu hearing

West Central Tribune-Willmar, Sept. 9, 2015:
Poultry farmers and experts say they are as ready as possible for a new avian flu outbreak at any time this fall, even if they don’t know exactly how the disease is spread. “We are prepared for dealing with this disease,” Minnesota State Veterinarian Bill Hartmann told members of the state House agriculture committees Tuesday.

Turkey producer Robert Orsten of Willmar told lawmakers that he, like other poultry farmers, is building new biosecurity measures that mean once a worker enters a turkey barn he changes his clothes, including boots, and changes back only when he leaves. Hartmann said the USDA has paid poultry owners $70 million for euthanized birds. Up to 520 state and federal employees and contract workers were on the job at the peak of the outbreak, said Santo Cruz of the Minnesota Agriculture Department. His department alone paid 8,000 hours of overtime. (Don Davis-Forum News Service photo: Robert Orsten, left, and Steve Olson, Minnesota poultry associations director).

In August the Nebraska Dept. of Agriculture and Dept. of Environmental Quality hosted the Heartland Avian Influenza Workshop. Many documents are posted on the Avian Influenza Workshop Information webpage.

Back to top

DNR reaching out to livestock operations on water use

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reaching out to feedlot operators and owners of livestock operations to help them determine their needs and comply with water use requirements. Users of large quantities of water must apply for a water appropriations permit and report water use. Producers can find out more about the regulations and their operations’ compliance on the DNR website.

Livestock operations using between 1 million and 5 million gallons per year must apply for a general permit, which is easier to get than the individual permit required of anyone pumping more than 5 million gallons of groundwater annually. Both types of permits, which are applied for online, also require users to track and report how much water they use each year. Full news release.

New wetland data map available

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has released updated wetland map data for 36 counties in southern Minnesota. The newly-released data are the first updates to the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) for southern Minnesota. The new data cover a 23,900 square-mile area. A total of 49 Minnesota counties now have updated NWI data, including the 36 in southern Minnesota and 13 previously released counties in east-central Minnesota.

Back to top

Grants available for livestock farm improvements

Minnesota Department of Agriculture announced $2 million in grants are available for on-farm improvements. Last year 120 livestock farmers received grants to improve their operations. Qualifying producers are reimbursed 10 percent of the first $500,000 of investment, with a minimum investment of $4,000. Qualifying expenditures include the purchase, construction or improvement of livestock buildings or facilities. Fencing, feeding and waste management equipment are also covered. Producers who suffered a loss due to natural disaster may also apply. The grant will not pay for livestock, land purchases, or debt refinancing.

Past applicants who did not receive an award need to reapply for the 2016 program. These grants are incentives to start projects after Aug. 1, 2015. Applications for operations with farmers transitioning into livestock, beginning farmers, and those with a positive environmental impact receive priority. Details and guidelines of the grant are available at www.mda.state.mn.us/livestockinvestmentgrantThe application deadline is Dec. 18, 2015. Apply online at: http://tinyurl.com/mdalivestock. - Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture news release

Back to top

In the news

Safety Watch: Knock-down effect of hydrogen sulfide
Iowa Farmer Today, 7/31/15
2015 Manure Expo videos
Large cattle operation near Pillager seeks expansion
Brainerd Dispatch, 8/21/15
USDA plans 'refresh' of nation's largest conservation program
Ag Professional, 9/1/15
MPCA seeks comments from public on proposed beef feedlot expansion in Pope County
MPCA news release, 8/31/15
Minnesota readies for bird flu outbreak
West Central Tribune-Willmar, 9/9/15


Sept. 19: Celebrate Ag and Food Day, University of Minnesota-Minneapolis.
Sept. 24: 5th annual Animal Science Conference, MinnWest Technology Campus, Willmar.
Sept. 28-Oct. 1: Mortality symposium, Lancaster, PA.
Nov. 4-6: MN Association of County Feedlot Officers conference, Holiday Inn, Owatonna.
Dec. 1-3: Minnesota Dairy Expo, River's Edge Convention Center, St. Cloud.
Dec. 3-5: Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association annual convention, Arrowwood, Alexandra.
Jan. 19-20, 2016: Pork Congress, Minneapolis Convention Center.
Jan. 27-28: Minnesota Ag Expo, Verizon Center, Mankato.
March 16-17, 2016: Midwest Poultry Federation convention, St. Paul RiverCentre.

Back to top

Send the news

The MPCA Feedlot Update welcomes news from partners about, projects, people, and upcoming events. Email submissions to forrest.peterson@state.mn.us. Past issues of Feedlot Update are available on the feedlot program publications webpage.