Feedlot Update - June 12, 2014

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Feedlot Update

June 12, 2014

Revised feedlot rules now in effect

Revisions and updates to environmental protection rules for livestock feedlots in Minnesota went into effect May 27. Changes include permit requirements for large feedlots, definitions of ownership and permit modifications, and “housekeeping” updates. A key issue is that the revised rule retains the authority of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to require State Disposal System operating permits for large feedlots. Following the rule revision, the MPCA is developing a separate SDS general permit. Large feedlots may continue to operate under their NPDES permit if they choose or they must apply for the new Minnesota SDS permit. An NPDES permit provides the permittee the greatest assurance of operating in compliance with both federal and state regulations. For more information see the news release, or feedlot rulemaking webpage.

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June Dairy Month events feature tours, farm breakfasts

dairy tour

Reported in Dairy Herd Management 6/9/14: We were able attend two open house events in Minnesota during the first weekend of June Dairy Month 2014. On Friday, June 6, Bill and Merri Post held an open house at their 145-cow robot facility near Chandler. The two-robot barn is tunnel-ventilated and built so a cow doesn't need to go farther than 80-feet for any of her needs. Their Lely Juno pushes up feed every 90 minutes, and automatic alley scrapers clean the barn.

On Saturday, June 7, the Funk family welcomed the public to Funk's Midway Dairy near Melrose. The 400-cow operation featured two freestall barns, one with slatted floors, a breakfast, and an activity area for children. The event was the 7th annual celebration of dairy in Minnesota's largest dairy county. If you're looking for an event near you, check out the event list: June Dairy Month events (110 and counting). Dairy Herd Management photo: A group gets a tour at Funk's Midway Dairy for the 2014 Stearns County Breakfast on the Farm, Melrose. Other breakfast on the farm events.

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Redwood Area Cattlemen host Summer Beef Tour July 8

The Redwood Area Cattlemen's Association is hosting the 2014 Summer Beef Tour and trade show, July 8 the Redwood Area Community Center in Redwood Falls. The Association currently has 210 members from Redwood, Brown, and Renville counties. Tour stops include Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz, Redwood Falls; David and Clint Engen, Revere; George and Mike Landuyt; Curt and Chad Thram, Sanborn; Butch and Brandon Kerkhoff, Redwood Falls and a stop at Redwood Metal Works and Artex. The tour registration fee is $25 before June 15 and $35 after June 15. The student price is $20. An additional lunch ticket is $10 and an additional dinner ticket is $15. Send payment to Jeri Hanson, 37590 110th St, Comfrey, MN 56019. The MPCA feedlot program will be among the approximately 200 vendors at the trade show. 

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Court says cattle operation must have a state permit


The Minnesota Court of Appeals opinion filed May 19 generally affirmed an administrative order issued in 2011 by the commissioner of the MPCA to a feedlot operation, Reichmann Land & Cattle, that required it to stop feeding large numbers of cattle on crop fields in the winter without a permit under the claim that the fields are a “pasture.”  While the court did not agree that a federal NPDES permit was required, the court did agree that a State Disposal System permit was required because the cattle were not “foraging on the fields,” but were instead being fed. The complete text of the court's opinion can be found on the Minnesota Appellate Courts case management webpage (case number A13-1461). The Reichmann livestock operation is located in Pope County near Villard.

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Wabasha votes to leave delegated county program

The Wabasha County Board voted June 3 to turn management of its feedlot program back to the state. The board voted 4-0 to terminate an agreement with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency that allowed the county to administer state rules for feedlots and manure storage areas. The state has withheld payment for the county to run the program because of alleged deficiencies in how grants were handled a few years ago. The resolution approved Tuesday says the county "is no longer willing or able to cover the costs of administering the program rules," and it will kick oversight back to the state as of Aug. 1. Read more... - Rochester Post-Bulletin, 6/4/14.

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Staff notes

Larry Gunderson

Gunderson to start new role at Minnesota Dept. of Ag

Larry Gunderson, Minnesota River Basin Coordinator, is leaving the MPCA for the Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture, where he will serve as supervisor of the fertilizer technical unit based in St. Paul. Gunderson has been with the MPCA since 1996, working as the educational coordinator for the Minnesota River project before becoming basin coordinator. The Minnesota River TMDLs for dissolved oxygen and sediment were his biggest projects. Gunderson is well-respected for his factual and inclusive approach to projects that are often controversial.

“This is hard work, trying to improve the environment and water quality, but you’re also asking people to change how they do things,” he said, adding he enjoyed working with staff, stakeholders and science advisers. Gunderson holds a bachelor of science in ag education and a master’s degree in water resources science from the University of Minnesota. With his new role at MDA, his career comes full circle, as his first job after college was in Nicollet and Brown counties, working on nitrate fertilizer Best Management Practices as part of a Clean Water Partnership project.

dillon hayes

Hayes new CFO staff in McLeod County

Dillon Hayes started in March as the new CFO technical staff in McLeod County, replacing Mary Creech. Previously, he worked for Stantec Consulting of St. Cloud, on construction administration and field engineering. He is originally from Milaca, and graduated from the U of M-Duluth majoring in urban and regional studies. In addition to feedlots, he works with the subsurface sewage treatment system program. 

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Blue Horizon Farm seek SDS permit for bedrock removal

A public comment period continues to June 16 for the first State Disposal System individual permit, applied for by Blue Horizon Farm near Rochester. The farm currently houses 300 head (420 animal units of mature dairy cows over 1,000 pounds, 40 head (40 AU) of mature dairy cows under 1,000 pounds, 60 head (42 AU) of dairy heifers, and 140 head (28 AU) of dairy calves in total and partial confinement barns and open lots without runoff controls. Manure produced by the animals removed from the barns is either land applied as solid manure or stored in unpermitted liquid manure storage areas (LMSA) until periodic land application. The farm is currently permitted to house a total of 530 AU.

They are proposing to build a new liquid manure storage area that includes a proposal to remove bedrock in order to comply with the required separation distances of Minn. R. 7020. The unpermitted LMSAs at the facility will be evaluated and possibly approved for continued operation, permanently closed, or converted to a manure conveyance system associated with the construction of the proposed LMSA.

After the proposed facility modifications, the facility will house 300 head (420 (AU)) of mature dairy cows over 1,000 pounds, 40 head (40 AU) of mature dairy cows under 1,000 pounds, 60 head (42 AU) of dairy heifers, and 140 head (28 AU) of dairy calves in total and partial confinement barns and open lots with runoff controls. Manure produced by the animals removed from the barns will be primarily stored in the proposed LMSA or other approved LMSAs prior to land application. A limited amount of manure may still be land applied as a solid. The final capacity of the Facility will remain unchanged at 530 AU. Public notice list.

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In the news

MPCA seeks comments on environmental assessment for new dairy near Morris
News release, 5/30/14
Revised environmental rules for feedlots now in effect
News release, 5/29/14
MPCA seeks comments on environmental assessment for expanded cattle feedlot in Wadena County
News release, 5/30/14
Wabasha County turns feedlot control back to state
Rochester Post-Bulletin, 5/3/14
MPCA seeks comments on environmental assessment for hog farm expansion in Freeborn County
Environmental Assessment Worksheet

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June 18-20: Minnesota Turkey Growers Association conference, Arrowwood, Alexandria.
June 22-25: World Congress on Conservation Agriculture, Winnipeg.
June 26: Agricultural drainage and water quality, Verizon Wireless Center, Mankato
July 8: Summer Beef Tour, Redwood Area Community Center, Redwood Falls.
July 8-9: Manure Expo, Springfield, MO.
Oct. 1: Animal Science Conference, MinnWest Technology Center, Willmar.

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Share the news

The MPCA Feedlot Update welcomes news submissifrom partners about, projects, people, and upcoming events. Email submissions to forrest.peterson@state.mn.us. Please note that the MPCA has switched to a new service, called GovDelivery, to deliver the Feedlot Update. To ensure delivery of these messages, please add mpca@public.govdelivery.com to your address book or safe sender list. Past issues of Feedlot Update are available on the feedlot program publications webpage.

Forrest Peterson
Public Information Officer
MPCA-Willmar office