Feedlot Update May 9, 2012

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

May 9, 2011

Feedlot factoid

What is the average number of days for issuing NPDES general permits for feedlots?

Answer appears in one of the articles below, and following the Calendar

Regional training in May for county feedlot staff

From computer sessions, to in-person classes, county staff can receive extensive training and professional development in the feedlot program. A series of regional programs begins May 9 in Brainerd, with topics such as permit processing, data management, manure sampling, web-based manual, and a 'brushing up on basics' exercise. The latter uses individual keypads to record responses, which are immediately tabulated for quick feedback and discussion. 
Sample question: Which of the following is not considered an environmental upgrade at a non-NPDES feedlot? (Answer appears below Factoid answer at end.)
  1. Reduction of herd size.
  2. Agreement by the owner to scrape and haul daily.
  3. Installing roof gutters.
  4. Closure or relocation of an open lot.
Other sessions follow at Detroit Lakes-May 10, Owatonna-May 16, and Redwood Falls-May 17.

On April 26, more than 30 county feedlot staff participated in an online training session. Topics included the recent memorandum of understanding on the disposal of livestock carcasses and debris from damaged structures, and burial of concrete and rebar. Training for new county feedlot staff is scheduled for Aug. 20-12 in the MPCA St. Paul training room. 

Several county staff move to MPCA feedlot posts

Three county feedlot staff recently have been hired to fill MPCA feedlot staff vacancies. Molly Costin and Allison Remer started April 25, in Detroit Lakes and St. Paul, respectively. Sara Isebrand started May 9 in the Mankato office. Previously, Molly was with Wadena County, Allison with Stearns County, and Sara with Blue Earth County. The Stearns County feedlot staff is down to two: Becky Schlorf-vonHoldt, who has been named CFO, and Richard Greunes.

In Wabasha County, Matt Kruger, feedlot tech in the SWCD office, continues to be the contact. In Kittson County, Brian Krippner has started in the SWCD office with feedlot program work. In Olmsted County, the county board reportedly approved a 0.8 feedlot tech position, following the retirement of Jim Stannard. Two vacancies remain in the MPCA feedlot program, one in St. Paul and one in Marshall. In Brainerd, Jessica Moore has transferred to the feedlot program from a biological monitoring unit.
new CFOs

Variety of reasons for enforcement actions initiated in 2011

A total of 136 enforcement actions were initiated by the MPCA feedlot program in 2011. This does not include actions among the 55 delegated counties. Most (105) were letters of warning and there were eight notices of violation. Both of these actions are alerts about alleged violations of statue, rule or permit conditions, and do not include monetary penalties. There were nine administrative penalty orders, and six stipulation agreements. Of these, 13 were issued to large feedlots with more than a 1,000 animal units and included monetary penalties totaling $86,775. More information about enforcement as a regulatory tool is available on the MPCA enforcement webpage.

Reasons for notices of violation issued in 2011 include: Construction or operation without permit; land application of manure within sensitive features; and operation of a feedlot over the permitted capacity.
Reasons for administrative penalty orders issued in 2011 include: Failure to submit a facility operation and maintenance annual report, discharge of manure from a land application site, manure pit overflow, construction without a permit, and discharge of manure from an open lot.

Reasons for stipulation agreements issued in 2011 include: discharge of manure from a land application site; failure to construct a manure pit in accordance with the rules; construction and operation  without a permit, and discharge from manure basin and feed storage area.

Feedlot program addressing permit law changes

For more than ten years under the state's rule (7020) governing livestock feedlots and the environment, the effort has experienced relative stability. As the result of recent legislation that cites federal law for issuing National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System operating permits, the state must now reconcile that legislation with existing rule that requires a State Disposal System operating permit for livestock feedlots with 1,000 animal units or more. The MPCA feedlot program is planning to make a rule change that better defines conditions when an SDS permit for feedlots is needed. Regarding the timeliness of issuing permits, the MPCA feedlot program issued NPDES general permits within 72 days on average, well below the 150-day deadline imposed by a 2011 statute. MPCA permitting efficiency report to 2012 Legislature. Factsheet: State Disposal System permit for large feedlots.

Permits = prevention

The discussion also focuses attention on efforts to improve the permitting process, and the basic reasons for requiring permits. The underlying rationale is that permits are a means of prevention. In the long run, preventing negative environmental impacts is much more effective and less costly for everyone involved. Permits are tools that help communities, industry, and agriculture meet their environmental obligations. Without permits, the chance of negative environmental impact increases, and this may increase enforcement activity. This is costly, time-consuming, and unproductive when compared with operating according to permits.... 'an ounce of prevention....'. For general information about permits, see the MPCA permits and permitting process webpage

Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center News

Looking ahead to the June webcast: Pork and poultry carbon footprint

Livestock and poultry production has been shown to be a relatively minor contributor to greenhouse gases in the U.S. Does that mean that the industry is ignoring the issue? No way! Join us for a June 15 webcast that highlights efforts from the swine and poultry producer organizations. More...

May 18: Nitrate Leaching

Do we still need to be concerned about nitrates and groundwater? Though air and climate issues have received much more recent attention, the issue of nitrates is still a thorny one, as evidenced by a recent California report implicating agriculture as the source of 96% of nitrates reaching groundwater. The May 18 webcast will take a look at several regional perspectives on nitrates in groundwater. Speakers are Marsha Campbell Mathews, UC Davis; Mark Risse, University of Georgia; Satish Gupta, University of Minnesota; and Rhonda Miller, Utah State. More...

State program highlights

  • Illinois: The University of Illinois is developing a directory to assist farmers in finding custom manure applicators. More...
  • Iowa: Many agencies have worked together to develop a program for open lot producers to quickly and confidentially test whether manure from their lots could be reaching a stream or drainage. For more.... Fact Sheet | Video
  • Washington: The Whatcom Conservation District has developed a "manure advisory" website that will analyze weather data and help farmers make decisions on when (and when not) to spread manure. More...

Project promotes energy-efficient dairies

Recognizing the economic challenges that face Minnesota dairy farmers today, The Minnesota Project and Clean Energy Ambassadors launched a special initiative in 2011 to promote energy efficient dairies and speed the process of identifying and installing top-notch energy-saving improvements. This effort includes working with vendors who supply energy-related farm equipment as well as electric cooperatives and utilities, which offer rebates or other incentives for energy-related improvements. Dairy Energy Efficiency Initiative

NRCS announces water quality initiative

Open to ag producers in three priority watersheds: Chippewa River, Elm Creek Seven Mile Creek

The Natural Resources Conservation Service will provide Environmental Quality Incentives Program funding and advice to producers to install conservation practices such as cover crops, filter strips and terraces in watersheds with impairments where the federal investment can make a difference to improve water quality. Eligible producers in Chippewa, Elm Creek, and Seven Mile Watersheds will invest in voluntary conservation actions to help provide cleaner water for their neighbors and communities. The selected watersheds were identified with help from state agencies, partners, and the NRCS State Technical Committee. NRCS news releases. MPCA watershed webpage.

In the news

Worthington Daily Globe, 5/3/12
Winona Post, 4/22/12 

MPCA Public Notices


May 15: LeSueur River Watershed potluck, 4-8 p.m., Red Jacket Park, Mankato. Call 877-269-2873.
June 4: Lamb and wool tour, Pipestone. Contacts: mike.caskey@mnwest.edu, or philip.berg@mnwest.edu.
July 9-10: Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association summer beef tour, Little Falls.
Oct. 16-18: Minnesota Association of County Feedlot Offices annual convention, Willmar.

Factoid answer

72 days (March-December 2011)

Quiz question answer

2. Agreement by the owner to scrape and haul daily. 

Send us your news

The MPCA Feedlot Update welcomes news submissifrom partners about, projects, people, and upcoming events. Email submissito 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.