Feedlot Update - October 2015

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

October 2015

MACFO annual convention Nov. 4-6 in Owatonna

MACFO logo

The 14th annual convention of the Minnesota Association of County Feedlot Officers (MACFO) is scheduled for Nov. 4-6 at the Owatonna Holiday Inn. After a tour Thursday morning the group will return to the meeting site to learn about conducting feedlot inventories, water appropriation permits, legal update, and Commercial Ag Waste Technician update. Friday's program will include an update from the Association of Minnesota Counties, foreign animal disease training, and nitrogen study of the Dept. of Agriculture.

The field tour will visit a family-owned dairy farm in Steele County about five miles east of Medford. 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.

At the business meeting Nov. 5, MACFO will appoint district representatives, set dues, and decide on 2016 conference details. MACFO represents the 53 counties delegated to administer the state's feedlot rules, and is a recognized affiliate of the AMC. Current officers are: President, Doug Bos, Rock County; vice president, Virginia Westlie, Goodhue County; secretary, Kathy Henderschiedt, Nobles County; treasurer, Russ Hilbert, Kandiyohi County; and past president, Dan Vermilyea, Steele County. More information is available on the MACFO webpage.

Back to top

MPCA reviews mortality management at HPAI conference

turkey compost

MPCA feedlot staff attended a U of M Extension workshop Sept. 22 that discussed the response to the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak this year. Attendees included researchers, producers, and regulators with the goal of becoming more aware and prepared if such outbreak should occur again.

The workshop began with a recap of the response effort this year and applicable regulations for mortalities and then progressed to identifying mortality practices that were working and where improvements could be made or where more research is needed.

The MPCA summarized its regulations and best management practices for handling mortalities focusing on having a plan in place to deal with catastrophic mortality events, which was reiterated multiple times during the workshop as a valuable, practical tool for producers to become more prepared when a catastrophic event occurs.

Those sites that have coverage under a NPDES permit or SDS permit are required to develop an emergency response plan that includes a catastrophic mortality component. The MPCA has developed a standardized form for this plan, which is available at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/view-document.html?gid=3753. This form can also be a valuable tool for all feedlot sites as any size feedlot site may experience a spill, natural disaster, or catastrophic mortality event. USDA photo: Compost piles inside a turkey barn this past June in Iowa.

Back to top

NRCS announces early signup for FY 2016 EQIP funds

Agricultural producers looking to solve natural resource problems on their farms will want to plan ahead and sign-up early for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funding. Cathee Pullman, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist in Minnesota, announced that farmers interested in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) need to apply by Nov. 20, for funding in 2016. These contracts provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air, and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. To learn more about EQIP, contact your local NRCS field office or visit the MN NRCS website.

Back to top

State grants help fund livestock improvements on the farm

The Department of Agriculture is seeking livestock producers to apply for a portion of $2 million in grants available for on-farm improvements. Last year,120 livestock farmers received grants to improve their operations.

Crystal Enberg of Kenyon is building a new 1,200-head hog finishing barn and plans to build a second barn in the future. As a beginning farmer, this new facility eases her transition into the hog industry.

John Scherber of Rogers is building a cross-ventilated barn to increase cow and human comfort, including: incorporating energy efficient lighting, ventilation, and robotic milking. The new barn will boost air and environmental quality and opens the door for the next generation to join the farm.

Mark Strom of McIntosh, is a fifth-generation beginning farmer and plans to build two new barns and a corral with a cattle handling system. New barns will allow the cows to calve under cover, and for healthier calves.

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. 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. Please apply online: http://tinyurl.com/mdalivestock.

Back to top

MDA issues 2015 Greenbook with sustainable ag stories

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has released the 2015 Greenbook, a set of stories about sustainable agriculture research and demonstration projects taking place on Minnesota crop, livestock, fruit, and vegetable farms. It is part of the Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant (SADG) program, which provides grants for testing farming ideas that focus on conservation, energy, profitability, and/or farmers’ quality of life. 

This year’s Greenbook includes stories about 19 projects, including several on cover cropping, a comparison of high tunnels and quick hoops, energy efficiency on dairy farms, solar powered drip irrigation, compost tea, beneficial insect habitats, and controlling thistle in organic blueberries. The online version is available at www.mda.state.mn.us/greenbook, or you can request a hard copy by calling 651-201-6012 or by email: alison.fish@state.mn.us.

The SADG program is currently accepting applications for on-farm projects that could conserve natural resources, enhance profitability, and improve farm life. Details and an online application are available at www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/grants/demogrant.aspx.

Back to top

Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center News

LPE News logo

Funding Opportunities.  The US Poultry and Egg Association has a call for proposals on "Rapid Disposal of Poultry Carcasses following Depopulation". Pre-proposals are due Nov. 6, 2015 and maximum funding is $125,000. More... (Select the “Board Research Initiative-Disposal” tab)

Avian Influenza. USDA released a plan for combating future outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The plan addresses biosecurity recommendations, potential vaccination impacts, training and organization of response teams and more...

Water Quality. USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) researchers have developed a watershed planning tool that can be imported into ArcGIS software to assist identify where conservation practices may yield the greatest benefits. Journal of Environmental Quality article... | Download the toolset...

Manure Has Value

  • Iowa State's Dan Anderson discusses the "Economic Value of Manure Sampling and Testing". More...
  • University of Nebraska's Amy Schmit highlights the potential in marketing manure to crop producers. Based on many years of research, manure is more than the sum of its nutrients. More... 
  • Related: Manure Value & Economics

Back to top

News briefs

Gruenes leaving feedlot program for Dept. of Agriculture position

Richard Gruenes will be leaving the MPCA feedlot staff in St. Paul for a position with the Dept. of Agriculture. He will be working in the Finance and Budget Division the Ag MBP loan program, assisting county environmental service departments, SWCDs and loan agents on the loan program requirements and qualifications. Prior to working at the MPCA, Richard was with the Stearns County feedlot program.

Meadow Star Dairy to begin operating soon

Construction at Meadow Star Dairy near Willmar is "coming together nicely" according to Riverview Farms. They are expecting to start milking cows towards the end of this month. Located about six miles west of Willmar Meadow Star will employ about 50 people, and milk more than 8,000 cows producing about 500,000 pounds of milk every day. June 5 story in West Central Tribune-Willmar.

MPCA preparing response to comments on cattle feedlot EAW

The MPCA is preparing responses to 10 comment letters received during the public comment period on the environmental review for the proposed expansion of a cattle feedlot in Pope County. The comment period ended Sept. 30. Reichmann Land and Cattle LLP plans an increase to 1,900 head of slaughter steers from an existing 1,608 head of feeder cattle. The proposed 1,900 head of slaughter steers will be housed in the existing facilities. Feeder cattle would no longer be held at this feedlot. The only new construction would be a 250-foot by 300-foot covered feed storage pad with runoff controls. Solid manure is removed and immediately land applied or stored in temporary stockpiles. 

Back to top

In the news

Permit changes would increase water protection requirements for S. Dakota feedlots
Associated Press, 9/20/15


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, Grand Casino-Hinckley.
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.