Feedlot Ordinance Update

The Blue Earth County Board of Commissioners approved the Feedlot Ordinance on July 28, 2020. 

Summary of activities leading up to the ordinance approval

The Livestock Manure Management ordinance was first enacted in 1995 and had not been amended since. There are over 400 permitted feedlots in Blue Earth County which rely on a quality ordinance for guidance. Several changes were made to align with Minnesota Rule Chapter 7020 also known as the State feedlot rules. Other changes, outside the scope of Minnesota Rule Chapter 7020, were made such as feedlot setbacks, mortality box location, and lot size requirements.

Public Participation – Stakeholder Involvement  

Land Use Plan – The County Land Use Plan was updated on December 18, 2018.  The two-year process to review and update the plan involved public participation with an online survey, open houses and public meetings. Concerns about lot size requirements for feedlots and setbacks were expressed by citizens during this process.

Online Survey - Blue Earth County conducted an online survey about the feedlot program and regulations.  The survey was open from November 22, 2019 until December 20, 2019.

Stakeholder Interviews - Staff interviewed individuals from Minnesota Pork Producers Association, Minnesota Board of Animal Health, University of Minnesota Extension Service, a livestock rendering company, and an agricultural lender. Their information and insight were used in developing the proposed amendment.

Public Open House - Blue Earth County held an open house on Wednesday December 11, 2019. During the open house, staff gave two presentations related to the items of discussion.

Topics of discussion included:

  • Reducing lot size requirements
  • Placement of animal mortality boxes
  • Manure application setbacks
  • Manure pit abandonment requirements
  • Change County animal units to match MPCA animal units
  • Review feedlot setbacks to parks, campgrounds, cemeteries, & churches

Work Session - The County Board of Commissioners held work sessions on January 7, 2020 and July 7, 2020, to review the proposed amendments.  There was consensus on manure application setbacks, mortality boxes, structure setbacks, manure pit abandonment, animal unit calculations, and lot size requirements.