Feedlot Update - July 2017

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Feedlot Update

July 2017

Summer beef tour rambles among the Glacial Ridge hills

summer beef tour 2017

The 2017 Summer Beef Tour showcased a variety of cattle operations among breeds, systems, and even a boutique creamery. The Glacial Ridge Cattlemen's Association hosted the day-long event, based at the Clear Springs Cattle Company south of Starbuck in Pope County. Photo: Black Angus graze on a pasture near the tour headquarters, a mono-slope barn.

At Redhead Creamery north of Brooten, the tour visitors sampled artisan cheeses produced since 2104 by Alise Sjostrom and family. At Clear Springs, operated by the Wulf family, the tour provided meals, refreshments and a display area for vendors in a large monoslope barn. Other tour stops included Highland Acres Cattle, Bar J Ranch, Bakko Brothers, feed and forage demonstration at Nelson Red Angus, and public grazing land.

The unique geography of the Glacial Ridge area in western Minnesota is well-suited for cattle production. In a landscape seeming to be farther west, beef cattle graze on pasture across the rocky hills; others feed in pens and monoslope barns, or both. Much of the artisan, grass-fed beef popular in metro area restaurants comes from the area. The 2018 Summer Beef Tour will be July 10 at Windom, hosted by the Cottonwood Cattle Producers.

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Multiple site policy updated to comply with law change

The MPCA feedlot program has revised its policy on how to address multiple sites under common ownership for permitting purposes. This addresses a change to state law that requires large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations to have an NPDES permit only if there is a discharge to surface waters. However, the state law requiring a State Disposal System permit for feedlots with 1,000 or more animal units, or an NPDES permit if so desired, remains in effect. The MPCA will apply the same multiple site criteria to both CAFOs and feedlots with more than 1,000 animal units. Those criteria are:

  • Combined capacity is 1,000 animal units or more, or the combined number and type of animal that meet the definition of a large CAFO;
  • One of the following conditions apply: 1) The feedlots are adjacent; or, 2) The feedlots use a common area or system for manure management.

The revised policy is available on the feedlot program NPDES and SDS Permits web page under the General Permit tab. 

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Summer good time to check on manure storage, application equipment

manure storage

With the chances of heavy rains in summer, it's a good time to keep an eye on level of liquid manure storage areas and maintaining freeboard. Also, to check on land application equipment and locations well ahead of fall harvest, so it's ready to go for fall application.

Heavy rains in some areas over the last two months are challenging the capacity of manure storage basins. Livestock producers are being asked to communicate proactively with the State Duty Officer to report if their basin is full or nearly so. County Feedlot Officers also want to hear from producers who may have storage room to spare, as it may be needed in emergency situations. The CFOs will provide advice on best management practices for farmers to minimize impacts. Tips on bad weather manure management are available in the Managing manure, land application during adverse weather conditions fact sheet. State Duty Officer — 1-800-422-0798.

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MPCA Feedlot Program news

Sibley County withdrew from the delegated county program as of July 1.

In Renville County, Scott Refsland is now the Director of Environment and Community Development. The CFO vacancy is being filled.

Waseca County CFO Garett Rohlfing has accepted the CFO position at Blue Earth County.  

Brooke Burmeister is leaving Jackson County staff at the end of July.

Jerry Holien retired June 30 from the MPCA feedlot program. He began working in the southwest region in 1999, coming from the Yellow Medicine County environmental services.

Regional MPCA-CFO meetings are scheduled during August: Aug. 14-Marshall, Aug. 15-St. Cloud, Aug. 22-Detroit Lakes, Aug. 24-Owatonna. Topics will include TEMPO database training, MPCA updates, and manure management plan reviews and checklist.

The next annual conference for the Minnesota Association of County Feedlot Officers will in the latter part of March 2018 in St. Cloud. 

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What have we learned from the 2017 avian influenza events?

Board of Animal Health - Animal Bytes newsletter, July 2017: The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recently released the epidemiology report from the highly pathogenic and low pathogenic avian influenza events in the southern U.S. this spring.

This report examines the disease spread and its impact. It serves as an educational opportunity to review past practices and plan future responses to diseases like HPAI. For example, APHIS made very important changes to its emergency response plan after the 2014-2015 outbreak. Those changes, including rapid response times and a 24-hour depopulation goal of confirmed HPAI cases helped minimize the spread of disease in the 2017 cases.

APHIS outlined the following highlights from the report:

  • Results of genetic analyses determined that all H7N9 viruses detected from this event are of North American wild bird lineage.
  • The comparison of the HPAI and LPAI H7N9 viruses showed they are highly similar and therefore likely that the LPAI virus was first introduced into commercial poultry and later mutated to HPAI.
  • Genetic and epidemiologic evidence suggests the possibility of more than a single introduction of virus from wild birds to commercial poultry with limited lateral spread from farm to farm.
  • Risk factors included rodents and wild mammals near barns, housing conditions, and biosecurity protocol breaches that could bring the virus from the environment into the barns.

Read the full report by following this link and remember, biosecurity practices remain a top priority to protect animals from disease.

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Open for comment: Possible increases to MPCA water quality permit fees

The MPCA is requesting comment on possible amendments to chapter 7002 and 7083 rules governing water quality fees. This includes fees for municipal and industrial wastewater permits, noncontact cooling water permits, stormwater permits, feedlot permits, septic systems, environmental review, variances, and more. The MPCA may make rule changes to some or all of these fees. 

The notice is available by visiting the MPCA public notice webpage. Additional information about this rulemaking, including two fact sheets, “Funding Minnesota’s water protection work” and “Public input needed on adjusting fees for water programs” are available on the Water Quality Fee Rule webpage.

The MPCA published notice in the June 26 State Register. The public comment period for this notice closes at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug.14. A stakeholder video conference on this rulemaking will be held on Monday, July 24 from 2-4 p.m. and again from 6-8 p.m., at the MPCA St. Paul office and regional offices. The purpose of the meeting is to share information about this rulemaking so that stakeholders are able to provide verbal input at the meeting and written comments by Aug. 14.

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EPA launches Animal Agriculture Education Project

As part of EPA's efforts to protect water quality through voluntary collaborations with the animal agriculture sector, EPA is announcing the launch of the Animal Agriculture Education Project, a series of educational modules to increase understanding and knowledge among state and federal government agencies and the agricultural industry about water quality protection and animal feeding operations. The project will include multimedia features such as videos and virtual tours of farms and discuss topics including advances in technologies and production systems, measures to protect water quality, and issues involved in on-farm decision-making about manure management.

An Overview Module for this project entitled, "Animal Agriculture, Manure Management, and Water Quality", has been released. This module was developed with funding from EPA and with input from animal agriculture stakeholders. Additional modules are being developed and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on conservation practices, and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association on beef production and manure management systems.

The Animal Agriculture Education Project is accessible on the Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center's websiteEPA also provides a link from its Animal Feeding Operations partnerships website.

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Veterinary Diagnostic Lab releases 2016 annual report

The University of Minnesota's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is the state's only full service accredited animal health diagnostic facility and the official lab for the Board of Animal Health. This 16 page report is full of detailed stats and annual achievements. A notable event last year was the hiring of Dr. Jerry Torrison as the VDL's director. He previously held positions at the lab and earned his DVM and PhD degrees at the University of Minnesota.

Other highlights include the expansion of the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory in Willmar, Minnesota. The VDL also achieved Level 1 status in the National Animal Health Laboratory Network. This network consists of federal, state and university laboratories dedicated to disease surveillance and outbreak response in agricultural animals. Read the 2016 annual report here. 

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UMN Extension hosts dairy field days in July, August

The University of Minnesota-Extension is hosting a number of dairy field days around the state. For more information contact Jim Salfer, 320 -203 -6093, salfe001@umn.edu.

  • July 19, HCL Farms, Morrison County
  • Aug. 1, Meyer Dairy, Stearns County
  • Aug. 2, Du-Ayr Dairy, Rice County
  • Aug. 3, Olson's Dairy Goat Farm, Todd County.
  • Aug. 4, Southeast Minnesota Organic Dairy Day, Winona County
  • Aug. 8, Middendorf Farm, Todd County
  • Aug. 10, Trailside Holsteins, Fillmore County
  • Aug. 15, WCROC Organic Dairy Day, Stevens County.

UMN Swine Extension July newsletter

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In the news

Goehring seeks more drought help for North Dakota ranchers
Associated Press, 7/10/17
Minn. power plant that burns turkey poop faces closure
MPR, 4/26/17
Construction of turkey farm creates concerns from neighbors 
WDAY, 6/18/17
New North Dakota Livestock Alliance seeks director
American Ag Radio Network, 6/20/17
Manure Impact on Soil Aggregation
Soil health nexus blog, 7/3/17
Dodge County feedlot legal battle is over
Agri-News, 6/30/17

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July 10-11: Summer Beef Tour, Starbuck.
Aug. 1-3: Farm Fest, Gilfillan farm, Redwood County.
Sept. 20-21: Animal nutrition conference, City Center Hotel, Mankato.
Sept. 26: 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.