Feedlot Update - June 2016

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Feedlot Update

June 2016

Land O'Lakes to participate in ag water quality certification

dayton-water quality certification

Gov. Mark Dayton and Land O’Lakes, Inc. President and CEO Chris Policinski announced a new public-private partnership to protect and improve water quality across Minnesota. The partnership is the first of its kind in the nation, partnering the state with Land O’ Lakes and local farmers across Minnesota to improve water quality stewardship standards on their farms. The agricultural cooperative company will work to expand participation in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program through its ag retail network across Minnesota. 

The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program is a voluntary opportunity for farmers and agricultural landowners to take the lead in implementing conservation practices that protect our water. Those who implement and maintain approved farm management practices will be certified and in turn obtain regulatory certainty for a period of ten years. After a successful pilot phase in 2014-2015, the program is now available to farmers and landowners statewide. To date, the program has certified over 150 farms totaling more than 83,000 acres. Together, the program keeps over 6.5 million pounds of sediment out of our rivers, while saving nearly 9 million pounds of soil and 4,500 pounds of phosphorous on farms, each year. More information is available at MyLandMyLegacy.com.

Land O’ Lakes’ seed and crop protection business, Winfield US, serves nearly 1,300 independently owned and operated agricultural retailers that operate thousands of retail locations across the United States, with approximately 300,000 farmers in their system representing close to 100 million acres. Photo: Land O' Lakes CEO Chris Policinski (left) and Gov. Mark Dayton shake after signing the agreement. Full story.

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Open house June 30 at Meadow Star Dairy

meadow star dairy

The public is invited to an open house Thursday, June 30 at Meadow Star Dairy, 12212 1st Ave W, Pennock, from 4 to 7 p.m. There will be guided bus tours, Princess Kay of the Milky Way, bounce houses and other activities for kids and a free meal of cheeseburgers, chips and ice cream.

Meadow Star is the newest of six dairies in western Minnesota by Riverview Farms of Morris. It began operation last fall, and is permitted for 8,880 animal units.

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Gabe Brown to speak at National Bison Association convention in Minnesota

gabe brown

Well-known North Dakota farmer and rancher Gabe Brown will be speaking Tuesday, June 21 at the National Bison Association convention in Elk River. He will be speaking at at 8:15 a.m. to  9:45 a.m. at the Rockwoods Bar and Grill Event Center. 9100 Quaday Ave NE, Otsego. The title of his talk is "Regenerating Our Resources." 

Gabe, his wife Shelly and son Paul, own and operate a 5,000-acre diversified farm and ranch near Bismarck. The Browns integrate grazing and no-till cropping systems, which include a variety of cash crops, cover crops and grass-fed beef and lamb. They also raise pastured laying hens, broilers, and swine. This diversity and integration has regenerated the natural resources on their ranch without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides. More than 2,000 people visit their ranch annually, from all 50 states and 18 foreign countries. Photo of Paul and Gabe Brown located on Browns Ranch website: http://brownsranch.us/ . 

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Webcast June 17 on drones and livestock operations

LPE News logo

Drones and Animal Agriculture: Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's) or drones, are becoming extremely popular in many areas of agriculture. While more often looked at for cropping systems, there are many potential uses for animal ag operations as well. Join us on June 17 to find about more these and get an update on the rules and regulations about drones. More... (a flyer will be posted at that link when it is available) June 17 at 1:30 p.m. Speakers are: Wayne Woldt, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Andreas Wesemann, Utah State University.

Nutrient Management

  • The Iowa Policy Project recently released a report on "Saving Resources - Manure & Water" which looked at agricultural and policy implications for the Mississippi River Basin. Among their policy recommendations are a complete ban on liquid manure application to frozen, snow-covered, or saturated soils. More...
  • Dan Anderson of Iowa State University takes a look at "What does manure application cost?" in his Manure Scoop blog. More...
  • The May issue of the Livestock Environmental Management (LEM) newsletter from North Dakota State is now available. It includes articles on composting, safety, runoff pond management, and monitoring livestock water. More...
  • The Chesapeake Bay was given a "C" for overall health in 2015 - one of the highest scores received since the "report card" has been issued. Of special interest to our readers, the report noted that levels of both nitrogen and phosphorus entering the Bay were reduced. More...
  • The trial for the Des Moines water works lawsuit against 10 upstream drainage districts has been pushed back a year - to August, 2017. The lawsuit is over nitrates in the Raccoon River and the high costs incurred by the city for removal of those in providing drinking water. More...

Comment Period Extended. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has extended the comment period on the risks of raw manure application to fields where fresh produce is grown. Comments are now due July 5. More...

Precision Manure Application

  • Precision application isn't just for commercial fertilizer. There are farmers and applicators exploring it for manure as well. More...
  • A recently-funded grant project in Vermont will also explore precision manure application. More...

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Permit applicants receiving letter about application backlog

The MPCA feedlot program is sending letters to permit applicants acknowledging that an application has been received, but that processing may be delayed. The letter states: "We have received your permit application for coverage under either the general National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) (MNG44000) or State Disposal System (SDS) (MNG450000) permit. Due to the large number of permit applications we have received we have been unable to process the applications as quickly as we would like. We are prioritizing applications that have been submitted for construction activities. Please be patient and we will get your notification of permit coverage to you as soon as possible. Continue to operate your facility under the 2011 general NPDES permit coverage previously issued to you. If you have any questions please feel free to contact the feedlot staff person assigned to your county." There are about 1,000 large feedlots with NPDES or SDS operating permits. Permit information and forms are located on the permit and forms web page.

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Swine farm project passes environmental review

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has approved the Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order for a Negative Declaration on the need for an Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed Boerboom Ag Resources-Redwood hog facility in Redwood County. The document concludes that this project does not have the potential for significant environmental effects. Boerboom Ag Resources is proposing to build a new hog facility in Section 21 of Underwood Township, Redwood County. A new farrowing, breeding, and gestation operation will house a total of 3,392 sows and 1,190 gilts in three barns.

The decision for a Negative Declaration completes the state environmental review process under the revised Environmental Quality Board rules, Minn. R. ch. 4410. Final governmental decisions on the granting of permits or approvals for the project may now be made. These documents can be reviewed at the following locations: MPCA offices in St. Paul; Minneapolis Public Library at 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; and the Marshall/Lyon County Library, 201 C Street, Marshall. The document can be viewed on the MPCA environmental review webpage. Requests for copies of these documents may be made by contacting the St. Paul office at 651-757-2100.

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EAW petition received for Wabasha Co. dairy expansion

The Environmental Quality Board (EQB) has received a petition requesting that an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) be prepared on the proposed expansion of Scotch Prairie Farms in Wabasha County from 999 animal units to 1,995 animal units. The petition cites the area's karst geography, increased traffic, possible manure spills, and the number of livestock already in the area as reasons for the request. No government approvals can occur until the need for an EAW has been determined. If preparation of an EAW is neither mandatory nor exempted, the MPCA has the option to prepare an EAW.

If a project is not required to go through the environmental review process and is also not exempt, citizens can file a petition with the EQB and request the preparation of an EAW. A petition must contain the signatures of at least 100 people and meet the criteria found in the EQB rules. These criteria require the petitioner to present a case based on environmental factors, for why a project should have an EAW prepared. The Scotch Prairie Farms petition information is found on the MPCA environmental review webpage. Factsheet: When is environmental review required for feedlots? 

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Feedlot program staff notes

Walter Jordan joins MPCA feedlot staff in Marshall

Walter Jordan has joined the MPCA feedlot staff working in the Marshall office. Walter is from Carver and a graduate of Chaska High School. He received a bachelor’s degree majoring in biology at Minnesota State University- Mankato. In his free time he enjoys hunting, fishing, and being outdoors.

Wade Schulz, Darrin Welle leaving county programs for new jobs

Wade Schulz is leaving the Rice County feedlot program after 15 years for a position with St. Olaf College in Northfield, where he currently lives with his family. At St. Olaf he will be the Biology Stockroom Manager. Wade says, "I hope that MACFO, the MPCA, and feedlot operators go forward making sound decisions not only for Minnesota’s environment but for all others that may become impacted by those decisions." Darrin Welle is leaving the Morrison County feedlot program July 1 for a new job as a planning and zoning specialist with the National Joint Powers Alliance in Staples. 

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Thompson installed as Board of Animal Health director

beth thompson

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has named Dr. Beth Thompson as its new executive director and state veterinarian, effective June 2. She succeeds Dr. Bill Hartmann, who is retiring after leading the agency for 15 years. Thompson has served as an assistant director and senior veterinarian since 2008. She holds both a DVM from the University of Minnesota Veterinary School and a Juris Doctor degree from William Mitchell College of Law. Her work and expertise at the board has centered on pigs and the state’s swine industry. However, she has a broad background in animal health and all aspects of animal and crop agriculture. Thompson is the ninth executive director and first woman to hold the position in the board’s 113-year history. Executive directors are appointed annually by the board members. For details about other news and events go to the Board of Animal Health webpage.

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In the news

MPCA seeks comments from public on proposed hog feedlot in Waseca County
News release, 5/31/16
Ag-environment issues top SD ag summit
Ag Week, 6/616
Minnesota brothers blend livestock, crop operations
Tri-State Neighbor, 5/20/16

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June 8-10: World Pork Expo, Des Moines.
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.