Feedlot Update - May 2016

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Feedlot Update

May 2015

Water quality certified livestock farms go to front of permit application line

klaverkamp farm

Minnesota livestock farms can jump to the head of line for MPCA feedlot permits if they also have applied for and received "agricultural water quality certification."

The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program, sponsored by the Dept. of Agriculture, went statewide last July. It certifies farmers who manage their land to protect water quality. In return, they receive a 10-year waiver from any new regulations that may occur.

So far, 137 farms have received certification, covering more than 75,000 acres and generating 274 new conservation practices. Livestock manure management is one of certification categories. Most medium and large livestock farms are required to have manure management plans.

The MPCA is revising its feedlot permit application to recognize water quality certification, and move these to the front. The MPCA is also working with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to expedite the approval of the online nutrient management tool developed for the certification program, which should reduce the time required to prepare a manure management plan meeting permit and rule requirements.

Minnesota dairy producers applaud the move. The Minnesota Milk Producers Association says the program “supports dairy farmers’ philosophy that voluntary programs like this one encourage sign-up and make it easier for new farmers and those who are expanding to improve water quality.”

At the Dean Klaverkamp dairy farm in Stearns County, improvements now prevent manure and sediment from reaching nearby Johnson Creek, a tributary of the Mississippi River. (Photo: L-R Mark Lefebvre, Stearns SWCD; Marci Weinandt, MDA; Dean Klaverkamp; Dennis Fuchs, Stearns SWCD)

"There really was no downside to it (certification)," says Dean, "because we already were doing most of the work."

The first of its kind nationwide, the program began as a pilot in 2012. With state legislation and a $9 million award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the program became available to farmers statewide in 2015.

The MAWQCP certifies farmers and landowners for managing their land in a way that protects water quality through a whole-farm assessment that evaluates:

  • Physical field characteristics
  • Nutrient management
  • Tillage management
  • Pest management
  • Irrigation and tile drainage management
  • Conservation practices

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Brooten dairy recognized by U.S. for outstanding farm sustainability

jer-lindy award

Jer-Lindy Farms and Redhead Creamery, a partnership between two generations of the Jennissen family, have been recognized with a 2016 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award for Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability. The 200-cow Brooten, Minn., farm was acknowledged for its multi-generational commitment to a number of innovative sustainable practices. (Photo: L-R Jerry Jennissen; Phil Lempert, emcee of the awards program; Linda Jennissen and Lucas Sjostrom.)

Highlights include reducing the farm’s energy use by 20 percent by utilizing an energy efficiency program, not using any commercial fertilizer on any of its 258 acres, and feeding whey byproduct generated while making artisan cheese at their on-site cheese processing operation back to their cows. The farm has also achieved Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification, improving water quality of the nearby Crow River for local residents and wildlife. Full story in Midwest Dairy Association news release. 

jer-lindy profile

Jer-Lindy Farms and Redhead Creamery profile

A dedication to sustainability and energy efficiency is second nature for Jer-Lindy Farms in Brooten, Minnesota. They use the most sustainable methods to cultivate corn and alfalfa and provide the best environment for its 200 dairy cows. (Photo: L-R: Lucas Sjostrom, Alise Sjostrom holding Henry, Lucy Sjostrom, Linda and Jerry Jennissen.)

And now the family has found a way to ensure the future of the family farm with its latest venture, the high-profile Redhead Creamery, which is attracting interest from people all over the country who are hungry for its artisan cheese and story of the next-generation farming legacy.

Jerry and Linda Jennissen have owned Jer-Lindy Farms since 1983, and can trace the farm’s ownership back to when it was originally homesteaded in 1875. When the Jennissens’ adult daughter, Alise Sjostrom, returned to the farm with her husband, Lucas, the two families joined forces to make her vision of starting a creamery a reality, and the Sjostroms were brought on as partners in the farm. Full story.

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MPCA clarifies definition of liquid manure storage areas


The MPCA is revising its feedlot permit application to recognize water quality certification, and move these to the front. With a recent change to Minn. R. ch. 7020, the MPCA feedlot program now defines liquid manure storage areas (LMSA) to generally include all types of storage that is not a solid  stacking slab.  As of January 2015, an LMSA includes any area where liquid manure is stored or processed.

Some examples of common structures that would be included are: Reception tanks, wedge pits, drop-pits, pump-out manholes, transfer tanks, settling basins, and some stacking slabs. The definition also clarifies when manure is considered liquid. If the manure, as it enters a structure/area, has less than 15 percent solids and not able to be stockpiled at a 3:1 ratio, the manure is considered liquid, and any area that stores or processes the manure would be considered a LMSA.

Taking into account the limited risk involved with very small LMSAs, the rule also includes provisions for reduced design requirements for small concrete structures and settling basins. The limited design requirements are an option for all concrete structures with a volume of 5,000 gallons (or up to 20,000 gallons with a 5-foot separation to karst bedrock). Limited design requirements are also available to settling basins designed to NRCS standards for a level 4 or 5 vegetative treatment system (filter or buffer strip), have a floor constructed of concrete or 1-foot of cohesive soil, and are designed to empty completely within 24 hours.

All LMSAs must have plans approved by the MPCA or delegated county prior to construction even if the structure qualifies for the limited design requirements. In addition, a permit is required prior to construction of a LMSA if the site has 300 or more Animal Units or the site is determined to be a pollution hazard. For more information on requirements for LMSAs refer to the LMSA Handbook available on the MPCA website at:  https://www.pca.state.mn.us/sites/default/files/wq-f8-04.pdf.

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County feedlot staff attend training

CFO training 4-28-16

County feedlot officers met in Hutchinson recently for training on all the various duties and responsibilities of administering the state's feedlot rule (Chap. 7020). Topics included inspections, permitting, manure management, land application, emergency response, and enforcement.

In agreements with the MPCA, 52 counties are delegated to administer the feedlot rule, with the exception of large feedlots that require state or federal operating permits. More information about the county feedlot program is available in a report to the 2016 legislature. (Photo: George Schwint, back right, reviews updates to the MPCA manure management planner spreadsheet).

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County feedlot officers sponsor manure management video

westlie book cover

The Minnesota Association of County Feedlot Officers has produced and funded a training video based on the publication, Applying Manure in Sensitive Areas. MACFO also funded a reprint of the publication. The 15-minute video is narrated by Virginia Westlie of Goodhue County, and produced by Fox Video Productions of Faribault. A link to the video is posted on the MPCA Feedlot Program web pages for nutrient management and county feedlot officer toolbox.

Video: Managing manure near sensitive areas►

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Minnesota researchers win EPA nutrient recycling challenge

Two University of Minnesota researchers were among the winners of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Nutrient Recycling Challenge Phase One. Bo Hu, Hongjian Lin, and Xin Zhang of the University of Minnesota, created a dry biosolids fertilizer by using a novel anaerobic digestion and solid-liquid separation system. EPA news release

The EPA's challenge, launched last November, is a national competition formed in partnership with livestock groups and Newtrient, which includes the dairy checkoff and dairy cooperatives. It’s focused on developing affordable technologies to manage nutrients from livestock manure, including extracting them for marketable products.

Every year, livestock producers manage more than a billion tons of animal manure, which contains valuable nutrients—nitrogen and phosphorus—that plants need to grow. Manure can be a resource as a renewable fertilizer, but should be used properly to minimize water pollution and build healthy soils.

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Robert Saik to keynote animal science conference Sept. 20

robert saik

Sept. 20  keynote speaker. Robert Saik, founder of The Agri-Trend® Group of Companies, will be the keynote speaker at the Ag and Animal Science conference Sept. 20 in Willmar. A professional agrologist and certified agricultural consultant, his technical strengths lie in soil chemistry, plant physiology and crop nutrition.

He is the creator of The Agri-Prize contest series, a skills based incentive competition for agriculture and launched the Canola 100 Agri-Prize in July 2015. He was awarded the 2014 Canadian Agri-Marketer of the Year by the Canadian Association of Agricultural Marketers.

He is the author of an Amazon 2014 Best of Books, "The Agriculture Manifesto" - 10 Key Drivers That Will Shape Agriculture in the next Decade, and publisher of The AgADVANCE Journal. His 2014 TEDx talk, entitled "Will Agriculture be ALLOWED to feed 9 Billion People" has been viewed over 90,000 times. He is the executive producer of KNOW GMO the MOVIE, a full feature movie looking at the advancements of technology use in agriculture, with planned release for this spring.

The conference is organized at hosted by the MinnWest Technology campus in Willmar, with support from many corporate sponsors.

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Go west (to Canby) for Summer Beef Tour July 11-12

summer beef tour 2015

The 2016 Minnesota State Cattlemen's summer tour and trade show is scheduled for July 11-12 at Canby. Hosted by the Midwest Cattlemen Association, the trade show and tour headquarters will be based on the campus of the Minnesota West Technical School. The event draws about 800 cattle producers, industry professionals and community members from across the state. 

The first leg of the tour will include the Wiesen Limousin Farm, operated by Jordan, Jim and Paulette Wiesen; Crazy Fate Ranch, operated by Faith and Chad Olsen; and Rockin’ H Ranch, operated by Chuck and Laurie Hoffman. The second leg of the tour will include Circle S Cattle Company, operated by Kami and Mark Schoenfeld and Gladys and Harvey Hastad; and Pesek Cattle Farm, operated by Dick, Judy, Mark and Ally Pesek, and Jill and Steve Resler. New to the tour this year will be a forage demonstration stop, hosted by the Pesek Cattle Farm.   

Registration forms can be found  in the April edition of the Minnesota Cattleman newspaper. For more information about tour stops or trade show and sponsorship opportunities, contact Krist Wollum at 507-530-3854 or Dick Pesek at 507-829-3774, or e-mail mncattletour16@gmail.com.

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National Bison Association summer conference in Minnesota


The 2016 summer conference of the National Bison Association will be held June 20-22 in Elk River, hosted by the Minnesota Buffalo Association. It offers three days of programs including a ranch tour of the holistically managed Sake River Farm. 

In conjunction with the conference, the Bison Advantage Education and Outreach training series will include a free workshop in Becker. On Tuesday, June 21, extension agents, ag educators, officials, veterinarians, and new producers can learn about the basics of bison production. The training is scheduled 12 p.m.-4 p.m. at the Snake River Farm in Becker. Registration is free; to register email Jim Matheson, or call at 303-292-2833. Photo: Buffalo winter grazing in southwestern Minnesota.

Bison named national mammal

On May 9 President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act into law, officially making the American bison the national mammal of the United States. This majestic animal joins the ranks of the Bald Eagle as the official symbol of our country -- and much like the eagle, it’s one of the greatest conservation success stories of all time.

In prehistoric times, millions of bison roamed North America -- from the forests of Alaska and the grasslands of Mexico to Nevada’s Great Basin and the eastern Appalachian Mountains. But by the late 1800s, there were only a few hundred bison left in the United States after European settlers pushed west, reducing the animal’s habitat and hunting the bison to near extinction. Had it not been for a few private individuals working with tribes, states and the Interior Department, the bison would be extinct today. Explore more fun facts about the American bison.

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In the news

Cunningham first Pipestone area producer to be Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certified
Ag Week, 4/22/16


June 20-22: National Bison Association summer conference, Elk River.
July 11-12: Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association summer tour, Canby.
Aug. 3-4: North American Manure Expo, London, Ohio. 
Sept. 20: Ag and animal science conference, Minnwest Technology Campus, Willmar.

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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.