Feedlot Update - Jan. 8, 2015

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Feedlot Update

Jan. 8, 2015

MACFO becomes an official AMC-affiliated organization

MACFO logo

The Minnesota Association of County Feedlot Officers is now an official affiliate organization with the Association of Minnesota Counties. The MACFO board voted to submit the application at its annual meeting in October, and the AMC board approved it on Dec. 7. A key benefit for MACFO is that it will now have one ex-officio, non-voting position on the AMC board of directors. The affiliation allows formal participation in the AMC policy development process, and provides representation in lobbying at a the state capitol.

AMC position statements on county livestock programs:

  • Supports the voluntary enforcement of state standards by counties with county authority to be more restrictive than state standards.
  • Supports increased state funding for counties that elected to be delegated within the PCA feedlot program.
  • Supports the ability of counties to withdraw from the county feedlot delegation agreement in the event the funding level declines below what is necessary to administer the program.
  • Supports a statutory definition of feedlot capacity as "permitted capacity."
  • Recognizes the need to provide assistance to feedlot producers correcting their feedlots and supports raising the eligibility limit for the feedlot cost share from 300 animal units to 999 animal unit facilities that are not large concentrated animal feeding operations.

The affiliate organization's president is typically the representative to the AMC board, but any member can be designated. Current MACFO 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 and chair of the MACFO legislative committee, Dan Vermilyea, Steele County. MACFO represents 53 counties that participate in the MPCA feedlot program delegated county agreement.

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Visit MPCA booth at Pork Congress trade show Jan. 21-22

2014 pork congress

Feedlot program staff will be participating in the trade show and seminars at Pork Congress Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 21-22 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. All are welcome to visit the MPCA booth (#208) at the convention trade show. New this year will be the draft State Disposal System permit, required for all new or expanding feedlots of 1,000 animal units or more. Copies of the draft permit will be available for review, and comments will be received if the public comment period is under way at that time. Steve Schmidt of the MPCA-Rochester office will be a presenter during the manure applicator workshop Wednesday afternoon. 

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SDS draft permit to be available for public comment

The proposed State Disposal System general permit for feedlots is being prepared for a notice in the State Register, announcing a 30-day public comment period when comments on the draft permit can be submitted. The State Register is published every Monday (Tuesday following holidays), and carries a variety of notices about proposed rules, appointments, policies, and other proclamations. When the date of publication in the State Register has been determined, announcements will be made via postcards to current permit holders, newsletters, news release, and on the web. The draft permit will be available on the web, and at MPCA regional offices.

 A State Disposal System (SDS) permit is required for any facility that currently has capacity, or is proposing to have capacity, for a total of 1,000 or more animal units (AU). A facility that is required to obtain an SDS permit may choose to obtain an NPDES permit in lieu of the SDS permit. The NPDES permit authorizes a discharge to waters of the U.S. due to excessive rainfall; the SDS permit prohibits such a discharge in any circumstance. Compliance with an NPDES permit assures that a discharge related to land application activities will qualify for the agricultural stormwater exemption afforded under federal law; the SDS permit does not. The federal permit is for five years; the state permit is for 10 years. For more information, see: "State Disposal System permit for large feedlots" summary (wq-f3-48) posted on the Feedlot Permit Information and Application Forms webpage.

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News briefs

Gernes joins MPCA feedlot staff in Rochester office

Mark Gernes will be leaving the Winona County feedlot program to join the MPCA feedlot staff in the Rochester office. He is scheduled to start. Jan. 14. He has been with Winona County since 1998 working primarily as county feedlot officer, and also doing other zoning work. Mark lives on a farm about 10 miles south of Winona, near the hamlet of Witoka, renting out the cropland. He grew up on a 140-cow dairy farm in Winona County, and graduated from UW-River Falls with a degree in animal science. 

Dodge County to decide about feedlot vacancy

Ryan Thesing has left the county feedlot officer post in Dodge County; the county is deciding what to do with position.

Several feedlot program factsheets updated

Several feedlot program factsheets have been updated and posted on the web. "NPDES and SDS permits for feedlots" (wq-f3-48) provides an overview for determining when a permit is required, and how the permits compare. "Delegated county feedlot program" (wq-f6-51) provides an overview of the delegated county program, which counts more than 50 counties participating. "Livestock and the environment" (wq-f1-01) provides a general overview of the MPCA feedlot program. The factsheets are available on the feedlot program webpages.

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Extension offers nutrient management workshop

University of Minnesota-Extension is presenting a nutrient management workshop designed to aid dairy and beef feedlot producers with phosphorus and nitrogen management strategies. The workshops are 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Northfield Senior Center, 1651 Jefferson Parkway, Northfield; and on Jan. 28 at the Steele County Administration Building, 630 Florence Avenue, Owatonna. Extension Educator Randy Pepin will discuss management strategies available to land-limited Minnesota dairy farms and beef feedlots to prevent excessive build-up of soil phosphorus.

Rising commercial fertilizer prices have made livestock manure an increasingly valuable asset. However, repeated application of manure at a rate that supplies all of the nitrogen needs of corn has created some soils with elevated phosphorus levels. Jeff Coulter, Extension agronomist, will present research on use on nitrogen credits for alfalfa and manure. The workshops will conclude with the county feedlot officers, Wade Schulz or Dan Vermilyea, discussing best management practice for feedlot management. The workshops are free to attend. Refreshments and lunch will be provided. Pre-registration is requested one week prior to the workshop. Contact Karen Anderson by email at ande9495@umn.edu, or call the Steele County Extension at 507-444-7685, or the Rice County Extension at 507-332-6109. In case of inclement weather, please contact the Farm Information Line at 1-800-232-9077.

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Sustainable ag grant applications due Jan. 23

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) reminds Minnesota farmers and others of the upcoming deadline Jan. 23 for its Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program. This 25-year-old program provides grants to test ideas focusing on conservation, energy, profitability, and/or farmers’ quality of life.

Applications from farmers receive priority, but the program also funds Minnesota nonprofit and educational organizations, as long as Minnesota farmers are meaningfully involved in the project. Projects can last up to three years, and applicants may receive up to $25,000 for their projects.

Current and past grant projects are highlighted in the MDA’s Greenbook publication: www.mda.state.mn.us/greenbookThe deadline to apply is Jan. 23.  Application materials are available at: www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/grants/demogrant.aspx or by calling 651-201-6012.

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Supreme Court hears Reichmann cattle permitting case

The Minnesota Supreme Court heard oral arguments Jan. 6 in the case involving permits and pasture definition with the Reichmann Land and Cattle company. Reichmann operates a farm in Pope County, which includes two registered feedlots and 4,000 acres of cropland. In 2010, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency notified Reichmann that its winter feeding operation requires a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and a State Disposal System (SDS) permit. Reichmann disputed the necessity of the permits, and a contested case hearing was held.

An administrative law judge concluded that both permits are required because the Reichmann winter feeding fields are an “animal feeding operation” as defined by 40 C.F.R. § 122.23(b)(1) (2013), and the winter feeding fields do not qualify for the state “pasture” exemption in Minn. Stat. § 116.07, subd. 7d (2012). The court of appeals reversed the order requiring an NPDES permit, but affirmed the order requiring an SDS permit. On appeal to the supreme court, the following issues were presented: (1) whether Reichmann is required to obtain an NPDES permit for its winter feeding fields; and (2) whether the winter feeding fields are “pasture” under Minnesota law. - Summary prepared by Supreme Court commissioner's office. Case no. A13-1461.

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In the news

Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association convention news
Minnesota Farm Guide, 12/8/14
Chatfield dairy farm family named 2014 producer of the year
Minnesota Milk Producers, 12/5/14
Feedlot approved after contentious hearing
Rochester Post-Bulletin, 12/12/14
USDA extends public comment for CSP rule to Jan. 20
News release, 12/23/14
Woman calls on citizens to slow feedlot permits in Dodge County
Owatonna People's Press, 1/5/15
USDA observes kick-off of the International Year of Soils
News release, 1/6/15

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Jan. 9-10: Minnesota Organic Conference, River's Edge Convention Center, St. Cloud.
Jan. 10: Minnesota Elk Breeders Association conference, Minnetonka.
Jan. 28-29: Minnesota Ag Expo, Verizon Wireless Center, Mankato.
Jan. 21-22: Minnesota Pork Congress, Minneapolis Convention Center.
Jan. 25-27: Minnesota Grain and Feed Association convention, Minneapolis Hilton.
Feb. 6-7: Pipestone lambing short course, bus tour, Minnesota West College, Pipestone.
Feb. 24-25: Midwest Manure Summit, Green Bay, WI.
March 17-19: Midwest Poultry Federation convention, St. Paul RiverCentre.

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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.