Feedlot Update - Nov. 7, 2013

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Feedlot Update

Nov. 7, 2013

County feedlot officer convention takes training tour at dairy

MinnFARM tour

County feedlot staff received hands-on training at their annual convention with a program that analyzes livestock farms for impact on water quality. On a rainy day Oct. 15, notebooks in hand, they roamed the Jerome and Susan Biniek farm north of Avon. The Binieks have been working with Stearns County feedlot program staff, and opened their farm to a demonstration of the Minnesota Feedlot Annualized Runoff ModelThe Minnesota Association of County Feedlot Officers annual conference Oct. 14-16 included a variety of topics: Inspections, MPCA updates, stormwater management, and panel discussion about the permitting process. The MACFO business meeting addressed legislative input through the Association of Minnesota Counties and commodity group update. MACFO representatives have met with livestock groups about land application, specifically on frozen or snow covered soils, and how to develop better communications with producers.

bos-rosenstein award

Doug Bos receives Rosenstein Award

Doug Bos, Rock County, received the Rosenstein Award at the Minnesota Association of County Feedlot Officers convention, presented by President Dan Vermilyea, Steele County. Doug has been involved in MACFO leadership for several years, and is the current treasurer. The nomination states: “He has been instrumental and effective in explaining and advocating for the delegated county feedlot program at the county as well as the state level. His background in crop consulting and livestock has provided him with a leg up in his CFO role. His calm demeanor and tact allow him to  standout and enable him to successfully build and maintain relationships with all individuals and groups.” The award recognizes individuals for their work, and is named in memory of the late Tina Rosenstein, former Nicollet County CFO and MACFO leadership.

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Panel: Communication key to success in permit process


Communication surfaced as a key factor contributing to a smooth and successful permitting process for livestock producers, according to panel discussion members on the program of the MACFO conference Oct. 16. "Communication is key," says Pat Lunemann, a dairy farmer near Clarissa, and president of the Minnesota Milk Producers Association. Regulators can do a better job of communicating with producers, and producers can do a better job of communicating with their neighbors and local officials, Lunemann says. "The typical farmer is introverted and avoids publicity. Change is slow." He encouraged regulators to "reach out to producers in a friendly manner. When we can work together, it's a win-win situation." The panel included Cris Skonard, engineer; Dan Vermilyea, Steele County CFO; Matt Bruyette, certified crop adviser; and Wayne Cords, MPCA-Mankato. They suggested ways to improve working relationships with livestock producers, such as more in-person contact, partnering with organizations that farmers trust, and sending postcards with important information. Also, "be aware of economic risks for producers," Lunemann advised.

More potential for manure management 

Other issues discussed by the panel included: Technical assistance, cost-share for feedlot improvements, and the need for a simple, accountable nutrient management plan. Manure management holds potential for improvement, for the producer and the environment. "Using science within our nutrient management plans, we can truly understand the remarkable value of manure," Lunemann says. Several southeast Minnesota counties have joined forces to provide manure management education. Mark Gernes, Winona County CFO, said they have trained 45 producers in using the manure management plan developed by George Schwint, MPCA feedlot engineer.

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Remember manure application setbacks

manure land application

Autumn often means manure application. Here are some of the minimum state requirements for manure land application setbacks.

  • No application is allowed within 25 feet of lakes, protected wetlands, perennial and intermittent streams and drainage ditches any time of the year.
  • Manure that is applied within 25-300 feet of lakes, protected wetlands, perennial and intermittent streams, and drainage ditches must be incorporated within 24 hours.
  • For open tile intakes, inject or incorporate all manure within 24 hours within 300 feet of the intake. No application of manure within 300’ is allowed on frozen or snow covered ground.
  • Manure may not be applied directly into the road ditch.
  • Do not apply manure within 50 feet of the well.

Setbacks may differ if you receive financial incentives through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) or special conditions in your feedlot permit. For additional manure application restrictions see the Nutrient Application Restrictions in Sensitive Areas guide or call your local SWCD office. - Minnesota Milk Minute newsletter, 10/18/13

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MPCA participating at seven convention trade shows

dairy expo 2012

The MPCA will be participating in seven upcoming convention trade shows with information about water quality and agriculture topics. The first event occurred Tuesday at the Agri-Growth Council annual meeting at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The MPCA is promoting a public comment period for the draft statewide nutrient reduction strategy. Agencies and stakeholders will be working together to address excessive levels of nutrients in state waters - primarily nitrogen and phosphorus - to improve water quality at home and downstream. More information is available on the nutrient reduction strategy webpage.

The MPCA invites everyone to visit its booth at upcoming trade shows and conferences:

  • Minnesota Farm Bureau, Nov. 22-23, DoubleTree Hotel, Bloomington.
  • Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Dec. 2, DoubleTree Hotel, Bloomington.
  • Midwest Dairy Expo, Dec. 2-4, Rivers Edge Convention Center, St. Cloud.
  • Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association, Dec. 13-14, Arrowwood, Alexandria.
  • Ag Expo, Jan. 8-9, 2014, Verizon Center, Mankato.
  • Pork Congress, Jan. 14-15, 2014, Minneapolis Convention Center.

Trade show news

Minnesota Milk Producers Association President Pat Lunemann and his family’s Twin Eagle Dairy was named as one of eight state finalists by the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD) for the state's 2013 Outstanding Conservationist Award.

The Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association annual convention speakers include: Lee Leachman, Warren Weibert, Dr. Eric Mousel, John Lundeen, Dr. Blaine Corners, Colleen Zenk, Dr. Ryan Cox and featured entertainer Gary McMahan. Scott George, National Cattlemen's Beef Association President and Patti Buck, ANCW President-Elect will also make a special appearance.

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Feedlots getting re-registered for next four-year cycle

A majority of feedlots have completed re-registration, good for another four years. An estimated 22,000 livestock feedlots registered in Minnesota must submit updated registration information to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) by Jan. 1, 2014. The information includes location, type of operation, and number of livestock. The state’s feedlot rule requires all feedlot registrations to be updated at least once in a four-year cycle. The current four-year cycle runs from Jan. 2, 2010, to Jan. 1, 2014. A review of data indicates that about 75% of the feedlots in delegated counties have been re-registered.  Approximately 10 delegated counties have re-registered more than 90% Feedlot owners who have not already re-registered will receive a registration form from either their local county office or an MPCA regional office. The feedlot owner must review the information on the form, make any needed corrections, and return the form to the appropriate office. More information and the Registration Form for Feedlots and Manure Storage Areas are available on the MPCA’s Feedlot Permit Information and Application Forms webpage or from county or MPCA regional offices.

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Ruling on feedlot rule update expected soon

The 30-day period ended Nov. 6 for the Administrative Law Judge's ruling on the 7020 feedlot rule update. The judge is allowed to ask for more days to render a decision. The proposed amendments address law changes made by the Legislature in the 2011 Special Session, removes obsolete rule requirements, addresses other law changes adopted since Chapter 7020 was revised in 2000, and provides clarification to certain existing rules in Chapters 7020, 7001 and 7002. When available, the final version of the rule update will go to the MPCA Citizens' Board, which could occur in January at the earliest.

Development of SDS permit for large feedlots under way

Work is progressing on a State Disposal System permit, which would go on public notice once the rule update is adopted. The permit is likely to include annual reports  (land application records, animal numbers, ground water monitoring-if any, depth marker reading), registration every four years, inspections, winter manure land application restrictions, and multiple site policy. So-called "gap" sites - feedlots defined as a federal large CAFO, but fewer than 1,000 animal units - must show records of no discharge; otherwise, apply for an NPDES permit. The proposed SDS permit term will be 10 years. It will not include construction stormwater provisions, or provide any protection under the federal Clean Water Act. Large CAFOs may choose to continue operating with a federal NPDES permit.

News briefs

Report to EPA shows 99 percent of CAFOs in Minnesota have operating permits

The MPCA has submitted its feedlot report to the U.S. EPA under the Environmental Performance Partnership Agreement. The report showed a total of 1,342 Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) in Minnesota. Of those, 1,282 hold NPDES general permits, and 51 hold NPDES individual permits, the total being about 99 percent of all large CAFOs. In the efficiency and timeliness of processing and issuing permits, the MPCA feedlot program is well within the state permitting efficiency requirement of 150 days. For NPDES/SDS permits issued between Jan. 1 and Oct. 1, 2013, permits have been issued in an average of 50 days.

Counties to record assistance to feedlot owners, measure environmental results

Tracking assistance to feedlot producers can help measure environmental results. The legislature seeks accountability for state funds given to 54 counties delegated to administer the state feedlot rule for small and mid-size feedlots. The MPCA will provide a uniform, one-page form for counties to use on a voluntary basis. The form has five categories: Technical assistance (eg. suggest fixes), permitting assistance (anything up to time of application), manure management plan and land application assistance, and consulting (all other assistance or advice, eg. building ideas, pasture or feedlot).

Sparboe expansion clears environmental review

The MPCA Citizens' Board has decided that an Enviromental Impact Statement is not needed for an expansion project at Sparboe Farms in Meeker County. The decision completes the environmental review process. Sparboe is expanding its existing egg-laying facility, from 3,762 to 5424 animal units. A 30-day comment period on the Environmental Assessment Worksheet ended Oct. 2.

Dept. of Agriculture posts positions for Ag. Water Quality Certification Program

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has listed openings for employment with the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (http://www.mda.state.mn.us/awqcp). Go to www.careers.state.mn.usClick on Search for a Job, Select Agriculture Dept from under Department and click on Search.  All of MDA’s job will show. Brad Redlin, Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program Manager, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Ph: 651-201-6489, Cl:  651-200-5307

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'Bison Fundamentals' class offered for potential producers

The Minnesota Buffalo Association is again offering its popular “Bison Fundamentals” class for farmers and producers interested in starting a buffalo herd. Nationwide, the consumption of bison meat continues to outstrip the supply and the class is offered in response to the growing trend to raise bison as an alternative livestock.

Members of the Minnesota Buffalo Association, led by President Dale Rengstorf, will present introductory information on raising and marketing bison. Rengstorf says part of the popularity of raising bison is that they are extremely hardy and the association is encouraging people get into the business because it’s so viable.

“Bison are easier to raise than other livestock because they can thrive in most landscapes, which means less work for the farmer,” said Rengstorf. He says many of the association’s members are raising a bison herd at the same time they are conducting more labor intensive farming activities or while working off the farm.

Sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Minnesota Grown Program, the free “Bison Fundamentals” class will be held Friday, November 29 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Central Livestock Sales Barn in Albany, Minnesota. The barn is located at 34412 County Road 10, just south of Interstate 94 at exit 147.

Although walk-ins are welcome, those interested in attending are encouraged to register and reserve a take-home educational packet by emailing info@mnbison.org, calling 507-454-2828, or visiting the Minnesota Buffalo Association website at www.mnbison.org/events to register online. Participants are encouraged to also make reservations for the evening’s Bountiful Banquet at 6:30 p.m. to continue their education through networking. - Dept. of Agriculture news release, Margaret Hart, 651-201-6131, margaret.hart@state.mn.us.

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Grazing lands videoconference Dec. 5

The Minnesota Grazing Lands Conservation Association's annual videoconference, "Keep It Growing, Keep It Green: Soil Health and Water Protection are the Answers," is set for 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 5 at nine sites around Minnesota. Registration is now open at tinyurl.com/glcavideoconference. The videoconference, which combines experts from around Minnesota and North Dakota will be led by Kristine Nichols, USDA-ARS, with new research on managing soil biota. Videoconference sites are: Morris: West Central Research & Outreach Center, 600 E 4th St.; Pine City: Pine County Courthouse, 635 Northridge Dr.; St. Paul: U-M-St. Paul Campus, Alderman Room 415, 1970 Folwell Ave SE; Lamberton: Southwest Research & Outreach Center, 23669 130th St.; Crookston: U-M-Crookston, Dowell Hall 101, 2900 University Ave.; Staples: Central Lakes College, Room A 114, 1830 Airport Rd.; Rochester: Winona State University-Rochester Campus, University Center; Rooms AT102 & CF 103; Austin: Riverland Community College-Austin Campus, Room C108, 1900 8th Ave NW; Winona: Winona State University, Room - Maxwell 257, 175 W Mark St. Cost is just $25 for GLCA members. Nonmembers may register for $45 and receive admission as well as GLCA membership. Open registration is available for $50. Lunch is included with registration. Seating is limited at each site.

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In the news

Court rules against EPA on CAFO discharges in big win for farm groups
E&E News, 10/24/13
Pooch Family works around rain events to finish 2013 growing season
Minnesota Farm Guide, 10/30/13
MPCA completes 63 enforcement cases in third quarter of 2013
News release, 11/6/13

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Nov. 15-16: Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers conference, Thumper Pond Resort, Otter Tail.
Nov. 21-23: Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting, DoubleTree, Bloomington
Nov. 29-30: Bison fall auction and fundamentals education, Albany.
Dec. 1-3: MN Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, DoubleTree, Bloomington.
Dec. 2-4: Midwest Dairy Expo, Rivers Edge Convention Center, St. Cloud Civic.
Dec. 12-14: MN State Cattlemen's Association convention, Arrowwood, Alexandria.
Jan. 8-9: Ag Expo, Verizon Center, Mankato.
Jan. 10-11, 2014: Minnesota Elk Breeders Association conference, Rivers Edge Convention Center, St. Cloud.
Jan. 14-15, 2014: Pork Congress, Minneapolis Convention Center.
Jan. 23, 2014: Livestock emergency management class, Martin County, details to be announced. 

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Share the news

The MPCA Feedlot Update welcomes news submissifrom partners about, projects, people, and upcoming events. Email submissito forrest.peterson@state.mn.us. Please note that the MPCA has switched to a new service, called GovDelivery, to deliver the Feedlot Update. To ensure delivery of these messages, please add mpca@public.govdelivery.com to your address book or safe sender list. Past issues of Feedlot Update are available on the feedlot program publications webpage.

Forrest Peterson
Public Information Officer
MPCA-Willmar office