Feedlot Update - September 2016

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Feedlot Update

September 2016

Open house for major expansion at poultry testing lab

poultry testing lab

A public open house is scheduled in the afternoon on Sept. 22 to introduce the major renovation at the Minnesota Poultry Testing Lab in Willmar. The work more than doubles the 3,665 square-foot, 20-year-old facility. It expanded on the existing site with an additional 8,235 square feet, for a total of 11,900 square feet. With major funding provided by the state, and the urgency of the avian flu outbreak in the spring of 2015, it took less than a year to design and build the new facility. Photo: Artist rendition.

Planning began in fall of 2015, groundbreaking in December 2015, and the doors opened for business in August. The state appropriated more than $8.5 million for the renovation following the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak. As a cooperative venture between the Board of Animal Health and the University of Minnesota, the primary focus of the MPTL is to serve and support Minnesota’s poultry industry. It performs all of the required disease testing for the state’s poultry industry, in addition to a full range of poultry diagnostic serology testing.

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Ag-animal science conference promotes technology campus


With its sixth Ag and Animal Science conference Sept. 20, the MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar continues to expand awareness of the unique site and host of companies stationed there, including AgForte/Willmar Poultry Company. Sept. 7 MinnWest hosted a stop on the state's 'Commissioners on Wheels' tour focusing on water, energy, and agriculture.

This year's conference keynote speaker, Robert Saik, addresses important technology issues in modern agriculture. Past conference programs have featured prominent names in the livestock industry, such as Temple Grandin. There is no fee to attend, but it's necessary to register onlineMinnWest business development manager Joanna Schrupp first created the conference to help market the campus: "We wanted to get people out here to learn about the area and all the resources we have here for the ag industry."

Like a university with a number of colleges, the MinnWest campus includes many large and small businesses, primarily related to agriculture. Major enterprises include AgForte-Willmar Poultry CompanyLife-Science Innovations, Nova-Tech, and Epitopix. In 2006 the group purchased the former Willmar Regional Treatment Center campus. With 37 buildings on the 160-acre grounds, it is considered the nation's largest privately-owned technology park.

AgForte/WPC has grown from a small-town company founded in 1945, to one of the nation's largest turkey companies operating in numerous states throughout  the nation. In 2000, Willmar Poultry Company partnered with Rick VanderSpek to form AgForte. In the immediate years following the partnership, AgForte acquired breeding and hatching facilities from Pilgrim's Pride, ConAgra and Elite Genetics. Ag Forte/WPC employs a total of about 800 people.

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MPCA feedlot program news briefs

Martens joins MPCA feedlot staff at Mankato

William Martens started Aug. 31 with the MPCA feedlot staff based at the Mankato office. Most recently he worked for Inter-poll Laboratories as a field survey/stack testing technician. He has performed  background checks while working for Cabela’s as an NICS compliance outfitter. He also worked for the city of Mankato at its wastewater and water reclamation facility. He a 2015 graduate of Minnesota State University-Mankato earning a BS degree in environmental studies and geography.  

County feedlot staff update

Morrison - Brett Fellbaum is the new county feedlot officer,  replacing Darrin Welle.
Rice - Bryce Krejcarek is the new county feedlot officer, replacing Wade Schulz.
Lyon - Devin Ryan joins staff to work on Tempo database.
Brown - Seeking new feedlot tech to replace Robert Santaella, who becomes the planning and zoning administrator and CFO replacing Joan Doss.

Majority of new operating permit applications reviewed or issued

A majority of the approximately 1,000 current NPDES or SDS operating permit applications have been reviewed, and of those about 60 percent issued. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit covers 2016-21, and the State Disposal System permit covers 2015-25. Feedlots with 1,000 or more animal units are required to have an operating permit. Permit information and forms are located on the permit and forms web page.

Proposed hog feedlot in Nobles County clears environmental review

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) 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 Dallas Bullerman - Brunk Site, Nobles County. Dallas Bullerman is proposing to build a new hog production facility in Section 11 of Olney Township, east of Adrian. Two new total confinement barns will house a total of up to 4,800 finishing hogs.The findings conclude that this project does not have the potential for significant environmental effects. The documents can be reviewed at the following locations: the MPCA offices in St. Paul and Marshall; the Minneapolis Public Library at 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; and the Marshall-Lyon County Library at 201 C Street, Marshall. The document can be viewed on the MPCA website at www.pca.state.mn.us/eawRequests for copies of these documents may be made by contacting the St. Paul office at 651-757-2100.

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Governor Dayton launches `Year of Water Action"

year of water action logo

Governor Mark Dayton kicked off a “Year of Water Action” in Minnesota, urging businesses, the agricultural industry, outdoor enthusiasts, communities and families to take action to conserve and improve water quality. Throughout the next 12 months, Governor Dayton and his administration will visit school classrooms, water treatment facilities, research institutions, and farms to encourage Minnesotans to learn more about the challenges facing our waters, and empower every individual to take actions in their own lives to be part of the solution. Each month will focus on a different facet and important role water plays in our state’s health, economy and overall way of life.

  • August 2016 – Year of Water Action Kickoff: Conserve, Protect, Clean and Enjoy
  • September 2016 – We All Live Downstream: Understanding Our Clean Water Sources
  • October 2016 – Clean Water Challenges & Solutions in Greater Minnesota
  • November 2016 – Clean Water Challenges & Solutions in the Twin Cities
  • December 2016 – Winter Ways to Take Action for Clean Water
  • January 2017 – Clean Water Creates a Healthy Minnesota
  • February 2017 – Minnesota Innovations in Clean Water Practices and Technology
  • March 2017 – Impacts of Climate Change on Minnesota Water
  • April 2017 – Sustainable Practices for Clean Water
  • May 2017 – Keep Our Waters Swimmable & Fishable  
  • June 2017 – Clean Water is Good for Our Economy
  • July 2017 – Year of Water Action for a Future Generation 
  • August 2017 – A Year of Water Action in Review

Link to video of Governor Dayton and three commissioners announcing the Year of Water at the Mississippi River headwaters: https://youtu.be/CdZjYq-HUPg

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Cattle farm honored for outstanding conservation efforts

stony creek cattle

Stoney Creek Farm near Redwood Falls has been selected as one of six regional honorees of the Environmental Stewardship Award Program of the beef cattle industry. The award, announced during the 2016 cattle industry summer business meeting, recognizes the outstanding stewardship and conservation efforts. This year’s regional winners will compete for the national award, which will be announced during the cattle industry annual convention in February 2017.

Stoney Creek Farm, owned by Gant and Dawn Breitkreutz, is a third generation commercial Red Angus farm and custom baling business. The family grazes 138 cows on 465 acres of permanent pasture land and feeds 750 head of cattle annually. The Breitkreutz family also farms 250 acres of no-till corn and soybeans and wheat and 50 acres of alfalfa.

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Ag, livestock industry in spotlight on commissioners' tour

doug huebsch

The 'Commissioners on Wheels' tour in western Minnesota Sept. 7-9 highlighted several ag and livestock enterprises. In addition to briefing commissioners of state agencies on economic activity, the tour helped to create more awareness of the Minnesota Business First Stop program. It was created by Gov. Dayton in 2012 to "streamline the development process for complex business startups, expansions or relocations that involve financing, licensing, permitting, and regulatory issues that overlap multiple state agencies."

On Sept. 7 in Luverne and Willmar, and Sept. 8 in Morris commissioners learned about Gold'n Plump, Rock County Pork Producers, Schwartz Farms, Rock-Nobles Cattlemen Association, MinnWest Technology, Jennie-O, Epitopix, Ralco Animal Nutrition, and Doug Huebsch, partner in New Life Farms and Otter Tail County commissioner. State agencies represented included: Employment and Economic Development, Commerce-Division of Energy Resources, Natural Resources, Transportation, Labor and Industry, Revenue, Pollution Control Agency, Agriculture, and Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board. The tour began in Worthington with a roundtable discussion at Prairie Holdings Group headquarters, led by Lt. Gov. Tina Smith. The three-day tour covered 835 miles, visited 11 communities, 10 business tours, and heard 42 presentations. Photo: Doug Huebsch of New Life Farms speaks to commissioners at the University of Minnesota-Morris.

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LPELC September webcast: Nutrient recycling challenge

LPE News logo

This month we are taking a look at the EPA's Nutrient Recycling Challenge and some of the projects that received awards in Phase 1. Presenters will also discuss the next steps in the challenge and what it could mean for manure nutrient management. Presenter will be: Joseph Ziobro, US Environmental Protection Agency. Sept. 23 at 1:30 p.m.  More...  Check out the information on the new webinar system under "What's Going On In the LPELC?"

Nutrient management resources:

  • Dr. Deanne Meyer with UC Davis provides a nice overview of nitrogen and its various forms in animal waste. She also discusses the relationship between temperature and nitrogen losses. More...
  • More from UC Davis: The Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI) released the "California Nitrogen Assessment" which looks at the sources of nitrogen in California (agriculture and otherwise) and the fate of that nitrogen. While animal agriculture and manure are only a portion of this assessment, it is worth a look. More... Related: [Archived webcast] Nitrates in Groundwater
  • Michigan State University researched soil nitrate availability in corn fields following cover crops or manure application. They used pre-sidedress nitrate testing to estimate the mineralization for the upcoming growing season. More...
  • The US EPA hosted a Twitter chat on nutrient pollution on August 25. Ellen Gilinsky, Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Water was one of several on an expert panel that answered questions. The questions were answered via the @EPAWateraccount and used the #NutrientPollution hashtag for those that would like to look back at the chat.
  • EPA has announced plans for Phase II of the Nutrient Recycling Challenge. The projects that were selected to advance past Phase I will participate in an incubation program in which they will develop technology designs for their concepts. More...

Manure Expo. Mark your calendars! The 2018 Manure Expo will be held in Southeast South Dakota. More... The 2017 Expo will be in Arlington, Wisconsin on August 22-23, 2017. More...

Manure & Root Crops. USDA Agricultural Research Service research in Idaho is examining long-term manure application to crops. One of the many areas being examined is the use of manure on root crops (potatoes and sugar beets). The timing of manure application to both is important for sugar recovery (beets) and crop quality (potatoes). The environmental impacts of manure rates is also being examined in this study. More...

Avian Influenza. The same strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) that caused a widespread outbreak in the U.S. has been identified in an Alaskan duck. This is the first time the virus has been found in the U.S. since June, 2015. No other cases have been detected. More... Related: [Archived webcast] Mortality Management Options During an Avian Influenza Outbreak

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In the news

Air modeling used to determine odor of proposed expanded feedlot
Alexandria Echo Press, 9/1/16
MPCA seeks comments from public on proposed hog feedlot in Goodhue County
MPCA news release, 9/6/16
MPCA extends comment period for draft 2016 impaired waters list
MPCA news release, 8/29/16
Chickens flock back to Minnesota's State Fair, others after bird flu outbreak
Star Tribune, 8/20/16

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Sept. 20: Ag and animal science conference, Minnwest Technology Campus, Willmar.
Sept. 22: Minnesota Poultry Testing Lab open house, Willmar.
Oct. 4-8: World Dairy Expo, Madison, WI.
Oct. 20-23: Minnesota Beef Expo, State fairgrounds.
Nov. 2-4: Minnesota Association of County Feedlot Officers conference, Best Western New Ulm.
Nov. 29-Dec. 1: Minnesota Milk Dairy Conference, St. Cloud.
Dec. 1-3: Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association convention, Bloominton DoubleTree.
Jan. 12-13, 2017: Organic agriculture conference, St. Cloud.
Jan. 13-14, 2017: Minnesota Elk Breeders Association conference, Arrowwood, Alexandria.
Jan. 17-18, 2017: Pork Congress, Minneapolis Convention Center.
Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2017: International Production and Processing Expo, Atlanta, GA.

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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.