Feedlot Update - December 2019

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Feedlot Update

December 2019

MPCA revising feedlot NPDES general permit for 2021-2026

feedlot permit

With the current National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit for large feedlots set to expire Jan. 31, 2021, the MPCA will be rolling out a new draft permit and seeking comments. The new general permit  will be substantially similar to the current 2016 general permit, but some requirements are proposed to be modified or added. 

A draft of the new, 5-year general permit (2021 general permit) is scheduled to have a 30-day public notice in spring or summer of 2020. There will be news announcements, public meetings, and outreach among livestock and other interested groups. 

In Minnesota about 1,200 livestock feedlots currently operate under a NPDES general permit, which covers large CAFOs that have similar operations. The permit combines federal regulations with Minnesota rules and statutes. It is intended to protect surface water quality near feedlot facilities and to minimize potential impacts from pollution caused by pathogens and nutrients, primarily from land application of manure.

Proposed changes:

  • Measures to limit the potential for nitrate leaching and runoff from manure land application areas.
  • Use of MPCA-approved forms for annual report or records of facility activities.
  • Significantly fewer number of pages by eliminating redundant text and numerous references to rules, regulations, and statute citations.
  • An on-line application process is scheduled to be available for use in the fall of 2020.

Look for information and updates on the MPCA  feedlot program permit webpage: www.pca.state.mn.us/water/npdes-and-sds-permits 

Visit the MPCA exhibit at conference trade shows

2017 pork congress

The MPCA feedlot program is participating in several conference trade shows. Staff will be on hand to distribute informational handouts and answer questions. Forms, factsheets, and record-keeping sheets will be available along with tips on how to use. New information this year: 

  • Agriculture and climate change in Minnesota: A new technical report estimates the impact of 21 different agriculture best practices on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Large feedlot NPDES permit for 2021-26. The current permit is set to expire Jan. 31, 2021. A new  permit covering Feb. 1, 2021 through Jan. 31, 2026 will be substantially similar to the current permit, but some requirements are proposed to be modified or added.
  • Online feedlot registration. MPCA staff will be demonstrating an online service now under development.

The MPCA feedlot program staff look forward to seeing you at these conference trade shows:

State receives $9 million for farm conservation practices


Money to help farmers interested in the Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program

Federal officials have awarded another $9 million grant for conservation practices to help farmers earn certification in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP).

The program is designed to accelerate progress toward water quality goals in our state’s lakes, rivers, and streams while making conservation regulations more predictable and less cost-prohibitive for the state’s farmers. Those  certified are assured that their operations meet the state’s water quality goals and standards for a period of 10 years.

Since it began in 2014, the MAWQCP has certified over 800 farms totaling nearly 550,000 acres. Farmers have installed over 1,700 new conservation practices across Minnesota as part of the program. Those new practices have kept over 37,000 tons of sediment out of Minnesota rivers while saving nearly 103,000 tons of soil and 45,000 pounds of phosphorous on farms each year. The conservation practices have also reduced nitrogen loss up to 49% and cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 36,000 tons per year.

NPDES and SDS annual reports due March 1

Feedlots with NPDES or SDS operating permits are required to send their annual reports to the MPCA by March 1, 2020. The form is available on the MPCA feedlot NPDES-SDS permit webpage. Everyone filing needs to download the document (wq-f3-22b), fill out the Word version, and e-mail the completed report as a PDF document to the address provided on the form. Cover letters that accompany permits include the e-mail address of your MPCA staff contact, or call your MPCA regional office for assistance.

All land application records for the 12-month period starting Sept. 1, 2018, through Aug. 31, 2019, must be submitted as part of the report and on the included forms. For farms that do not transfer manure, land application records can also be generated and submitted using the MPCA excel based Manure Management Planner under Create Crop Year Records. A link to the planner is located on the feedlot program Nutrient and Manure Management webpage. Annual reports provide valuable information for determining compliance with Minnesota’s feedlot rules. Failure to submit annual reports by the March 1 deadline may result in an enforcement action from the MPCA.

MPCA feedlot program update

Kourtney Frank (formerly Brevik) joined the Feedlot Program in Brainerd on November 27. Kourtney fills the vacancy left by Will Martens, now in the St. Paul office. Kourtney is a graduate of the University of Minnesota-Crookston, with a BS in Animal Science. She has various work experiences including a position as a breeding and farrowing technician at T and D Rolf Farm in McIntosh and most recently at Wakefield Pork in Little Falls. She also worked as a farm manager for several years at an organic family farm near Little Falls. In her spare time, she works at a kennel caring for dogs and puppies.


Dec. 3-5: Minnesota Dairy Expo, Treasure Island, Red Wing.
Dec. 8-10: Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Doubletree, Bloomington.
Dec. 12-14: Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association conference, Willmar Conference Center.
Dec. 17-18: Conservation Tillage Conference, St. Cloud Holiday Inn.
Jan 6-7  Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework, UMN Water Resources Center, St. Cloud.
Jan. 22-23: Minnesota Ag Expo, Mankato Convention Center.
Jan. 28-29: Minnesota Pork Congress, Minneapolis Convention Center.
Feb. 4: Nutrient Management Conference, Verizon Center, Mankato.
Feb. 6: Minnesota Independent Crop Consultants Association annual convention, Crow River Winery, Hutchinson.

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.