Listen: 17096501.wav
0:00 |

A Mainstreet Radio special broadcast from the small community of Comfrey, Minnesota. Mark Steil takes a closer look at new laws governing the regulation of feedlots in Minnesota, laws which give more control over feedlots to local governments. Steil talks with State legislators, Steve Dille and Gary Kubly.

Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.

NPR's Main Street radio coverage of oral issues is supported by the blandin foundation committed to strengthening communities through grant-making leadership training and convening. Good afternoon. I Mark style and welcome back to Country for this special Main Street radio. Midday in this hour will be talking about livestock feedlots. The Minnesota Legislature passed a bill this year to deal with some of the complaints about feedlots. We'll talk about that and also take your calls are phone number is 1 800-537-5252 800 537-5252. We have to stay legislators with us here in the basement of st. Paul's Catholic Church in comfrey Steve deal is from dancehall and represents Senate District 20. Good afternoon. See you good afternoon. And we have Gary kubly from Granite Falls who represents house district 15b. Good afternoon, Gary adfl the debate over large feedlots specially hog. And dairy has been a major topic of discussion for several years before we get into some of the legislative stuff. I'd like to get an opinion from each of you on Do you think the feedlot debate over the next few years will escalate remain about where it is or start to recede Steve deal part of the thing. We did this last session is refunded a large study called a generic environmental impact study to study the last stock industry and its impact socially economically and environmentally in the state of Minnesota. It'll take about three years to get the results of that study at least two years. I believe after that study is in and after we achieve some some new technology which were just on the verge of doing right now for Odor Control the whole issue is going to subside but it should be a fairly active issue for the next couple years have to ask you about the odor issue the you know, there have been a lot of talk about older abatement plans and things that would work in and so far. It doesn't seem to be anything that has really work. Well for everybody. Why do you feel that the odor problem issue will be taken care of in the near future? Across this nation there is a multimillion-dollar effort to solve this problem in part of the effort is going on right here at the University of Minnesota. A lot of progress has been made in one area that is particularly encouraging is the use of biofilters. It's a very cheap method of taking the the air from these confinement barns in front of manure storage facility to soften underneath the swine Barnes and routing that are rather than straight out in the atmosphere routing it through a a pile of organic material would shift straw compost and as it passes through this between 80 and 90 per-cent of the order seems to be removed from the the stream and that's very cheap and very easy to do as University Minnesota research on your way right now in the report on this this work is coming out this July. So that's very encouraging Plus have some more sophisticated technologies that are being used are going to be an open house on a swine farm near Raymond next month to demonstrate some brand new technology that appears to be caught. Defective it's a system where the manure is is is processed. The solids are taken out. The water is is treated to anaerobic and Aerobic System in there were used in the swine barn and it appears to be very effective. So I think we're just on the verge of some real real changes returning to the original question of state representative Gerry. Koob Lee. Where do you think if you'd like to be able be in a in a few years ago? So from my perspective, I've I've tended to take my lead from the residence of my district. I guess, you know the vast majority of the people that I hear from in and it says it's an issue that I get mail on every week. I don't think a week has gone by where I don't get that kind of mail. It is an order issue in Renville County. I think very much in order issue. I would say, you know, probably at least one in four of the letters that I receive or the contacts that I get. Sometimes it's a phone call or or occasionally an email, you know, they mentioned environmental and concerns as being a part. That as well, I guess the last year I had sponsored some older legislation that you know attempted to address some of that and work with the MPC am trying to bring some of those are orders under control. It did seem to me that that was the largest issue out there. I guess I did come out in support of the so-called moratorium that we had this year. I don't think it's a genuine moratorium you no more time actually, you know doesn't do anything within an industry and you know, this bill would have allowed you well say if you were a swine producer this bill didn't say that if you wanted $10,000 you couldn't have $10,000 you can still have that number. You just could have them all on the same site. So, you know, it seems to me that it was maybe a slow down. Some people were calling it that it did the same to me that its primary impetus was was to to place smaller numbers on one location in Order time to try and address some of the problems and I think there would have been some benefits in that for the industry as well know particularly in terms of biosecurity and that kind of thing but from my perspective, I guess, you know, I think as long as the problems are there and particularly as long as the older problem is there no problem won't go away and I visited with people in the industry and you know, I've told them that in my opinion if they would take care of the order problem that over half of their opposition would disappear almost overnight and I believe that day. I really think that would be the case. Is there anything out there that you feel confident that the order will be an issue that will be will be taken care of we'll be solved. There are some technologies that certainly look promising in that Arena. But you know, there are already some some feed additive kinds of things on the market that help. Quite a bit with order, you know, I know I've talked to some producers that are using some of that. I know there was a reluctance to you know, what to add anything more to the cost of production. But you know, it does seem to me that those operations that are utilizing that kind of an additive do I don't have the same kinds of complaints that other that other groups do that door not using those additives as well. So I don't know I guess I think you know, there are some solutions out there. I don't know why those feed additives don't seem to work for everyone. I think you know the Senate included a ban on the goons and their legislation. I think that was a good step. I think that will help with the problem for new facility is coming on line. I I don't know, you know where we're going to go with, you know, the facility is that already exists. I think something needs to be done there to it doesn't seem fair to me that that people who've lived. How to place for 50 years or more should feel like they have to remain in their house all summer long just because of the odors in the air, you know, I guess those who were opposed to this so-called moratorium would say well, you know order has always been a part of swine production and that's true. I mean, I grew up on a farm we raised about $90 a year, which was a fairly large number at that time. We Farrow twice a year spring and fall and you know swine certainly produce waste that has a distinct to it. But you know, I think they is lagoons. All right, you know, it's something else again the odors are, you know, almost intolerable for for a lot of people and people don't have the same sensitivities tour of the orders and some of the some of the emissions that are contained in those orders either the Minnesota Public Health Department says that you know that people A real young people who are real older people who have sensitivities to certain components of the order are probably going to have a different reaction than others. And so, you know when there's not a consistent reaction on a physiological level then it does seem to me that it compounds the problem because it's not so easy to address Steve. I like to get your reaction to something. Gary said it mean are there levels of odor from a sayoc feedlot that that can be described as intolerable. I would certainly say yes one thing I'd like to correct those that or just expand a little bit further than Cooley indicated. The Senate have passed a ban on lagoons and that is only for the swine industry. And that is something that that is not being built anymore. Anyway, it wasn't like two or three of them don't last year in the whole state of Minnesota and but I'll look for the cattle producer, especially the large Dairy system is absolutely crucial that they have this method to store the manure and it's not such a problem that in the cattle industry because that goes lagoons crust over and there's not anywhere near the odor probably too fine with us wine system. But you know, you see it you indicated earlier that there is there's not a lot of success apparently in controlling order. Actually. I think there's a lot of progress has been made just in terms of land application because we have the system know where you can pump this when you are out of the Lagoon and you have those long hole is a trails along behind a Trilogy tillage equipment can go back and forth across the field and incorporate this stuff immediately. So it's pumped out through the holes and put underground immediately. So the amount of older that you have during application time, at least as is much diminished vs. A method of putting it on the surface and then hope you got time to get back in Incorporated sometime soon. You listen to a special Main Street radio midday from come free with us to discuss a feedlots. Our state senator Steve Deland State Representative. Gerry kubly, the legislature passed a bill this year. Let's dispense just a few minutes looking at bad and Gary. Maybe we could share with you. What wood were the most important parts of that legislation from your Viewpoint new lagoons is that is a step in the right direction night. I do think that Senator Dill is is correct in saying that not many of those were permitted for the swine industry. Well at least of the people were constructing them have chosen to another method of waste containment and you know, it does seem to me that that would be one helpful step, you know there. I think you know that the piece that we gave to local government units are particularly to County levels of government that allows the county to be more restrictive in there in the in the kinds of permits that they want issued in it within the bounds of their county is also a step in the right direction. I think a part of this whole debate centers around whether or not people have a right to say what kind of Countryside they want to live in and it seems to me that that people who have lived there a long time again ought to have something to say about you know, what kind of Countryside they live in and and particularly as it impacts their own quality of life, you know, I've gotten mail from people who live in in towns in my district who said that, you know their children come in from playing outdoors in the summer time because the smell is so bad and that happens with some frequency. They can't sit out on their deck to enjoy Cup of coffee in the morning or glass of lemonade in the evening because of those orders and so, you know, I think you know, I'm just convinced that with in Renville County waste the odor problem is a major one and I just saw, you know, my support of the moratorium came about primarily because the odor legislation that I had worked on last year and went gotten into play so, you know there didn't seem to be anything happening and we'll go into some more of that that order issue in just a few minutes, but I'd like to ask get Senator deals take on legislation. First of all again, what were an important part of that particular year. We probably spent more money on the livestock industry to help it in various ways, and I can never remember before in the the twelve years that I've been in the legislature. So I'm just going to run down some of the things that were doing to help the livestock industry now, I'm a pro-life. Guy, I'm a veterinarian. I'm a livestock producer myself. I raise Hogs and sheep and cattle myself and I'm interested in protecting promoting and nurturing as livestock industry. And of course Odor Control and solving a tissues is important part of this but there's many other parts as well. And in the 1998 legislative session, we did some things that I think are very important to help the livestock industry. Not just a big guy but a lot of things to Europe for the mid size too small producer and to help organic producers and the smallest of the small and so forth, but just run through this we have found contrary to public opinion. It's that the the feedlots that are most likely to be out of compliance or the smaller ones the older smaller ones or mid-sized ones with the larger newly-promoted systems that were engineered properly. Generally speaking are in compliance now Blue Earth County and other Counties have done feedlot inventories and they have confirmed this the case of Blue Earth County all of the larger systems were in compliance, but about 10% of the small to mid-sized ones were out of compliance and I'm talking about systems that are under 300 animal units. So in order to help those smaller systems, we have 11 million dollars that we appropriated this year for for Grants and low-interest Loan money to help these smaller producers upgrade their system. So it's a meets a new environmental standards. I like to get Garry's reaction that quickly before we move on with that you agree with that that it's a small to medium feedlots, which has caused most problems important to to support the so-called moratorium because we don't really know what kinds of problems are out there. You know, it may it may be that they're in compliance intern in terms of What's the law now States, but it does seem to me that we had two major spills from lagoons of 100000 gallons or more just within the past year in Minnesota. And it does seem to me that does the numbers of those facilities increase the likelihood of that kind of thing happening is going to increase as well. And I think those are you know, certainly some environmental concerns that need to be addressed. I do think there must be ways of storing the waste that are better than then some of the methods that we currently use. I know right up here at Lake Lily and there is a company that makes an above-ground storage facility that would seem to me to address us some of those problems at least if a facility is leaking above the ground you're going to be aware of it. So, you know, I'd I think you know, we need to need to look at some of that but You know, whether whether it's true that the smallest operators are out of compliance. I think it makes a difference on how you raised. Well, let's let's stay with swine production since we started with that. I think you know whether there are ways of raising swine that that I think do not don't post anywhere near the kinds of problems that these large a confinement setups do with the way they store a store the waste and I guess that's been one of my concerns at the legislature is that is that the state of Minnesota not appear to be giving preference to one form of livestock production. And so I've I've pushed hard and Senator Dale knows that in fact, he was angry with me for a while because of no pushing for the low input low capital-intensive kind of vibe production unit. You know that we find both of those and let the producer choose rather than pushing only one form of production will let us clarify that for a minute to start with i, Not angry with you for pushing the alternative low-input hog production system. It was because you had cut the funding for older research and the order research Billy just made reference to which had $400,000 Jennifer order research. You would cut that out cut the cut that back by hundred twenty five thousand to find something else. And that's the part. I wasn't happy with a major issue. I didn't like the idea of having the recommendations the order task force, which I was born in a bill. I had the previous year be cut but unfortunately, but well most that equal level and that didn't happen. So I guess you know, I would disagree with you on that Senator, you know, I guess I you know, I know that was was your bill but if work if we're going to know if we're going to promote one style of production over the other I think that's that's done in the eyes of the public by finding one at what are Greater Heights than than the other Set the record straight the $400,000 per person for order research on all types of swine systems. Not just a big systems and the alternative swine production research money was also fully funded because we managed to get some of that from the the Harriet Island project to to a fully-funded in conference committee last year. And then this year if I just continued on with some of this won't take one more point and then we're going to go to a I call her. All right all week. We at we've got three point three million dollars a week stuck in the University of Minnesota hog research. This year is for new swine production facilities that it was Seka and at Morris and part of that 3.3 million dollars almost 300,000 of it is for low Capital across Hartford. I can research at the University of Minnesota it what does that mean? Exactly raising hogs on Durrett using systems that would require less Capital input. It's maybe going back to an older system of swine production. And by the way just for your information. I am Pastor throwing my cell My pastor Fairwood last year 24 gilts on pasture and I got about 60 of them bread this year and I can tell you that it's labor-intensive and there's all kinds of problems associated with it. And I think one thing this research is going to show is it? Yes, you can make it work, but your labor costs are going to be high and it's going to be hard to achieve the kind of feed efficiency that you get in a confinement system a technologically advanced system and the other problems. Can you produce enough hardener that system to generate enough family income to feed the family pay the bank and satisfy other needs and in your life you listening to a special Main Street radio midday from comfrey. Good afternoon. I'm Mark style and with us our state senator Steve deal landscape representative Gerry. Koob we are we're talking about feedlots in some of the things that are going on in that area something the legislature also did this year was the help or if they give the authority to local governments become more active in in regulating feedlots in counties actually have been doing this for several years, and now some townships are also trying to follow Sing Panther we have Nancy barsness with us from new Prairie Township in Polk County's joining us by phone this afternoon. She's a zoning administrator of that Township. Good afternoon, Nancy. Good afternoon. What's are some controls? Does your Township impose on feedlots / 450 animal units and our bases for doing that is that that allows most of the older techniques are the older of how the old older operations were built with any of that but most of the large Consignment systems that were sang today at 1 Barn is about 400 animal units which equals about a thousand adult talks and so are Township says if you're going to build multiple Barnes over 400 animal units, we require a conditional-use permit which allows a local forum for our residents to come and ask a neighbor. Ask questions of the feedlot operator and resolve some of the issues. We require a setback for a Township roads are Road overseers and nobody else is going to protect our Township roads, if we don't have setbacks and for safety for loading and unloading Hawks, you've been taken to court over those at the the Operator Operator has appeal to the Appellate Court. And so we're in the process of that. We should have a ruling by August but we feel quite confident on winning that one may that be a trendsetter for the state of goes your way. Are daddy issue there? They're maintaining that older is pollution and the exclusive jurisdiction of the state to regulate we've never seen where mpca defines order as pollution its land and water pollution. And we recognize as townships that there has been court cases in the past that have established that townships cannot regulate water quality and the pollution issues associated with water quality such as manure management polluting the land that intern pollute the water new issue cropped up in which now on the feedlot operator and Minnesota perfect to the source are maintaining that odor is pollution and townships can't have setbacks to regulate that. Well mpca. The state has no setbacks. We live in a county that has no countywide zoning no feedlot ordinances. And so the only forum Court hearings is Sue the township and the only setback Authority is with the township on the issue of townships imposing moratoriums on feedlot construction or are townships doing that? townships temporary first of all, and I don't think either representative deal has mentioned that the moratorium on swine lagoons put in by the state will expire June 30th 9 tear to your mm. It's a temporary moratorium as was the proposal for the Statewide moratorium and is so the moratoriums at the township level. They are put on to protect the planning process. It's only after a Township has decided it wants to have local control on controversial developments in the township that they decide whether or not it's necessary to adopt a moratorium to protect the planning process. So they don't do anything in a rush and hurriedly that they'll regret down the road if they can put on a moratorium and then do a good job of studying the issues to decide what kind of zoning ordinance or comprehensive Together comprehensive plan Nancy. Thanks for joining us this afternoon Township in Polk County Senator Dill reaction should townships have the authority to control feedlot construction. I believe they should if the county doesn't but is really a complicated business and I don't really think it's an appropriate function of Township government generally speaking. I think it's more appropriate for the county to do that in our 50 states. There's only 13 states left that have Township government and approximately half of those allow for the townships to regulate feed lights. In our Upper Midwest area here North and South Dakota townships. Do not regulate feedlots Iowa does not have townships anymore. It's a function of a state down there Wisconsin does allow there townships regulate feedlots in Minnesota. I think it is appropriate for them to do what they have. The authority to impose a moratorium is a county does and that's one of the reasons I oppose a the Statewide moratorium. A lot of these people are hollering for local control in this is an example where they have local control. They can't stop this production the township level and stuff. If you lost it at the township level for up to two and a half years at the county level for two years. So between the two of them, they could actually stopped feedlot construction for four and a half years and that's local control. Why should the state stick their nose into their business after all there's a lot of counties out there that I've already settle this issue. They've had their more touring they developed their feedlot ordinance are ready to move on. They like livestock production. They need livestock production is good for the economy and it's not appropriate for the state to come in on top of that and stop them. So I think it's a very very clear issue of local control a besides. I know they like to say is that there's / 750 lost in the state with with over a thousand animal units and hundreds of those. You don't see any protestors. Anybody complaining The Neighbors come and go and I'm good good good terms they have the public hearings at the local level and and they may or may not have a crowd of people, but the point is if there's a lot of large systems that are being managed in a way and are being developed out there without the public outcry that you here in a few cases. If you have a question or comment for us this afternoon, call us at 805-375-2521 800-537-5252 with us at the st. Paul's Catholic Church in comfrey our state senator, Steve Dillon state representative Gerry. Koob Lee. Like to ask you Do you have any do believe that the feedlots should be limited in size on a particular site as to how many hogs are how many dairy cows should be able to be put on say one site? Well, it seems to me Mark that legislation that to go a certain direction with that that would die in or try to limit emissions from from those facilities and I guess you know my frustration with that was that nothing seems to be happening. Now, there are some things happening now, of course, but you know part of my reason for supporting this this moratorium seemed to me that smaller numbers on a certain site would be would mean smaller order problems. You know that you have fewer numbers on a site. You'll probably have less of an order, you know that and certainly if you have the kinds of spells that we have they wouldn't be as size of You know, it would it would seem to me that it would offer the operator, you know, the added security of knowing that if there was a breach of their biosecurity yet at one of their facilities. If you've got 10,000 sour spread around to five different sites for instance and you have you know, some kind of a disease that breaks out at one site. Well, it's a setback but you're still in business. If you have a you know, one of those one of those diseases break out at a site with you where you have your entire operation located you're pretty much out of business. So I think there could be some advantages to that died. I would still tend to favor the smaller sites for those reasons. Let's go to the phone lines here. We have Elton word all in a former. I stayed at commissioner has called in from my phone to no. Good morning. Mr. Red Dawn. Define yes, I Alton good to hear from you. When I was in the legislature and we didn't always agree but I always respected her and and the phone is nice to hear Nancy again, but the question we have several Township that tried to establish ordinance for aerial spraying of potatoes and things like that and even for a sprained by the DNR for spraying some of their Woodland and so what's the deal with me in that lawsuit and I forget to which county is wise, but we did win that and I think there's been one other Township that tried to establish their own strict regulations and were defeated in part. So I won't answer me Mets win hers. I think it's I think it's a little tough though or townships to establish. So strict regulations, I think it should be the county as tentative deal is said but I guess I'm wondering what will happen now with this generic environmental study that's taking place. So you going to spend 3 and 1/2 million dollars for that study. I remember the forestry environmental impact study. We haven't you know, we have left before us but is this the something it's going to cost money and thanks for calling and Senator Dill. The generic environmental impact study is going to look at all of the research available throughout the world and some of these key questions now, I've looked at a lot of research and I'm absolutely convinced that the MPC a standards for manure storage construction is adequate there is no threat to the groundwater whatsoever. It's unbelievable how strong was engineering standards are There is some threat to surface water because of land application heavy rains immediately thereafter and the to spill's that represent a kubly mention. We're not because of any engineering design failure. But but because of human error and of course, we're all my all human beings do make mistakes from time to time getting back to the point is a lot of studies that say that the MPC is Tanner's are adequate. This study is going to look at all the research available. That's done. That's. Viewed appropriate research on all these questions and come to some kind of conclusion as to where we're at. What will you say hi to ask for a stricter standards. Would you be prepared to support then? Yes, I would because it would be based on on all of the good research of a done around the world in in in week. We can make some adjustments based on that and I want to make my decisions based on valid science and economics in common sense and not somebody's emotional outcry and brought up a good Thursday representative kubly up will this environmental will it will the generic environmental impact statement sit on the shelf, or will it will it lead to some some doings at the legislature? Well, I would guess that the legislators will take a look at it. I mean some people have said that the goal of the impact statement is just to delay things and not bring any relaxing on feedlots. I don't know that I mean, hopefully that that's that it's not just a delay tactic. I would hope that we have something good came out of it. I don't think that that it would receive the kind of support that it did if we if we simply thought we were you know, what kind of swinging at straw horses or whatever but you know, I I do think that it was something that there was a lot of support for there is hope that there will be some direction that comes out of that for Minnesota and for the rest of the nation. I mean this is This is a problem. I think that that certainly is not limited to Minnesota. There are several States right around us that have also taken taking a serious look at how to address the problems that they see with with this industry as well. So I think you know, it's something that's going on across the country. North Carolina has a genuine moratorium in place at the at the present time. They are not permitting anything over 200,000 the swine industry, which would be 80 animal units. That's a pretty small and Confirmation today. Let's be go back to the telephones here quickly. We have another caller. Jonathan from Rochester has called in this afternoon. Good afternoon, Jonathan. I have a question man or comment about health and sewage. Basically. I'm a physician other than the fact that certain diseases are carried by animals rather than human. It really isn't a whole lot of difference between human excrement and animal excrement and and yet it seems that the handling of waste is at least legislatively distinction is made and what what I'm wondering is let's say you had a community of 10,000 people instead of 10,000 hog. What were the requirements might there be on management of that way different from the animals. They certainly if we were talking about however many million called there are the country if we were talking about them in human term. I think that people would have a different take on basically had no septic system and I'm wondering what the differences and what the rationale that is. Thanks for calling in your deal. Is there a difference between all the state handles a human waste vs. Hog without a couple of and very important points early. We can handle animal waste in the same way. We handle human sewage with the cost per pound of livestock producer per unit would be cost-prohibitive. That's one The second one is it you lose a fertilizer value of the manure if your processor does much as you process human sewage and that manure is a valuable resource. Minnesota is really in the newer deficient. We only produce about 20% as much manure as we really need based on the amount of tillable land that we've got and if you look at just the nitrogen part of it would probably only produced 14% as much manure as we need. We got lots of tillable land out here to apply this manure to and if you process it like we do for human waste you lose a good chunk of that fertilizer value of the state representative kubly is is there a difference is hog manure strictly regulated than then standards for human life. Absolutely. My my suspicion is that in the future some of the some of the most contentious issues that we have will deal with groundwater. And if we use the same volume of groundwater to treat animal waste that we used to treat human waste. I suspect those issues would would grow exponentially. Would you like to see that happen? I don't think so. I guess I you know, it seems to me that there ought to be other ways in the Far East there are some waste digesters that are used for both human and animal waste. That's a form of disposal that also allows the production of a methane gas that that could be used to heat the animal facilities. I don't I don't know what the options are out. There. It does seem to me there are definitely difference is and how they're how they're handled Paul strandberg who works for the Attorney. General's office has said that if Minnesota had this, you know, I had the same number of humans that produce the same amount of waste does animals do we would have a population of somewhere around 44 million that's 11 times greater than what we currently have except that's bogus not those are bogus numbers. Why is that because the human waste is is there so much water with it and so many other things that go along with it. There's a huge of all And there's with a wordsworth's wind waves are cattle waste there's not much volume, but it's very concentrated. So we actually look at gallons of waste humans produce just a tremendous amount per person have a question or comment this afternoon, So I have to 800-537-5252 you listening to a special Main Street radio midday program from comfrey and a state senator Steve Dillon state representative Gerry Cooper the our guests as we talked about feedlots, Mike from Edina has called us a good afternoon Mike Tracy Minnesota and I want to talk we had the feedlot put down actually. It's it's a very large scale can a hog confinement facility? I think that was a technical term for it and it was put down in Lyon County and there's more going up there and the way they decide that site these things are, you know, a bunch of farmers get together. And they don't really want to have it on their on their lot because it stinks too much. Basically, they don't want to raise our kids around the smell and everything. So what they do is they got the plat map and see where is a retired farmer. That doesn't are where's an abandoned Farm where we can we might own land cheap and around and there's a retired former that they won't be able to fight us what the smell or anything like that and they set it up there and they just once they start Then they go to mpca and get the first-aid stack the Township Board and they get you know, I don't tell anybody know who really pays attention to Township Board until later Mike if we could shorten this process you have you don't feel that the process by which Farmers choose are feedlots night is is under strict enough control regulations. I don't think it's a strict enough it on and what the whole deal is is the public isn't really aware what's going on at this minute and the more feedlots ago in the more opposition going to build to it. So you know that but unless they perfect the Yoder issue. It's it's really a adom technology right now. Let's get some reaction state representative are deciding processes strict enough. I haven't really been involved that much in that in that end of it. Mark II do know that it it seems to me that wherever you know a hog confinement. The facility is proposed that there is fairly a fairly large number of local people who who come out opposed to it tonight and I think in Renville County, I still think the older problem is the primary concern. I keep saying that over and over. In fact, I've even told that members who are involved in the industry are people lie in my district to are involved in the industry that if they would take care of that half of their opposition would disappear almost immediately with that end of it Senator Dill. Well here you are family Farmers trying to get together to cooperate to put together a cell unit to produce Pig's party to bring those feeder pigs back to their home Farms to finish them on their own Farm. They get together. They try to find a site. They look at the state rules a look at the county rules and most counties do have feedlot ordinances right now with setbacks. It had public meetings. They figured out what they want to do. And so there are guidelines and regulations at both levels at these people have to meet setbacks. Yes from town set back from church of setbacks from Road setbacks from neighbor. So yes, I get to plat book out and they see where they can build this facility and because there's multiple owners there might be 10 or 12 farmers would go together each one only $100 and put together a cell unit where they can produce produce these pigs in a isolated site efficiently best genetics best nutrition and take those Peter Pace home to their home furnace to finish them elsewhere, which is a very common structure. It's a way to help save the Family Farm not destroyed by allowing use family Farmers to cooperate together and there are rules and guidelines in and I may be some counties need to change a made it maybe you need to upgrade emergency to accommodate some of the political pressures out there, but I I see Said it's it's important for the public to understand that this expansion of the livestock industry that we're seeing in this state is almost entirely being done by Family farmers and not just corporate farming thing in that they are that keeps you getting bantered about the exception of that might be the poultry industry certainly part of that expansion is Corporate but almost all of the dairy I would say all of the dairy and almost all of the swine production expansion. You see here is Family Farm expansion and you've got to allow these people to expand if they're going to be able to compete in the 21st century. Owners feel that they have a large operations are the next best step in hog production and many small farmers have joined these high-producing cooperatives. They say that's the only way they can stay in business joining us now by phone is Minnesota pork producers president Jim Quackenbush from West, Central, Minnesota. Good afternoon, Jim What is the state of the hog market right now? What sort of price do you receive for your for your Hogs price or bad bad price to make a living at it? How important is is the price of hogs in determining what size operation of a farmer looks at? You have to determine what what level of income you need to support your family and then you don't work the numbers to decide how big of an operation you need to do is apply those dollars. Is there strength in numbers in in hog production of 20 to 30 Farmers banding together to to put up a large-scale feedlot some efficiencies from from size and also one of the most important aspects of those groups that band together is that they can share information on their own operations where they may be finishing those pigs on their home Farms. They can share data and and through that sharing and and determining what works for one guy in the other guys try at the they can all improve their production. Like ask a question that we started the program with actually, where do you think the feedlot debate will be in 5 years more heated to about the same or or less heat than now. Well, I expected as we work through the process and people will come to understand the economies that that farmers have to deal with farmers will continue to it to grow in their understanding of the environmental issues that that people want us to look at as well as the public is deemed important than and as we get those issues debated. I think it will in time will quiet down. All right. Thank thanks for joining us this afternoon Jim Quackenbush who's the president of the Minnesota pork producers of the Minnesota pork producers and he Farms with two of his brothers in the West Central Minnesota. Let's go right back to the phones. We have another caller a Daniel for Minneapolis is with us. Good afternoon Daniel comment from any extra for many years and a lot more Farmers than there is now and raise cattle and pigs and still is a smell out there. So what's the date? Farmers now Roofing up. I'm not saying you want something real bad odor, but me. What's the difference between now and here is the Only Hell I'm a farmer's I'm working out a lot more pigs people who have written to you talking about order. Maybe that will illuminate the point and I have one here from a Renville County farmer. He says I raise Hogs to but with pets in your Barns and adequate ventilation, there is no reason for a bad odor out call Jerry said I get around a lot. I go buy some of these large hog buildings and the smell is bad and he wrote that in all caps with a couple exclamation marks and then he felt that the you know, the large can find my units kind of force the price down for everybody. I'm not saying that's true or false. I'm just saying that that's an opinion that's out there. But he thinks that that there should be something done about the orders particularly at the close of his letter. He said if the governor feels this is good for the economy. Maybe they should build them near him so he could smell it for a while. I mean, you know the people who put up with that order. Day in and day out are really quite adamant about finding a solution for that particular piece of it. Send it to rebuild. It did farmers make a tactical mistake when they the first hog feel I was put up. Let's use that for an example of large-scale 1in in the older obviously probably was pretty bad close by that. They didn't recognize that and then try to deal with that issue immediately instead of more or less being forced to deal with it by Neighbors in and also the Regulatory Agencies Well, we all learn from experiences and that's why you're not seeing these open lagoons for Hogs anymore. You have a very large surface area out there. There's about two hundred different chemicals that cause odor and hug when you are it's very easy for those those chemicals to vaporize over that large surface area of the Wind Blows across it and get in the atmosphere and irritate neighbors. So, you know, we learn as we go and I think in the long run those open the doings for swine are going to have to be either done away with or the shaft be some new technology where there's a cover put on I'm in the in the gas is collected and treated before the released into the atmosphere and you can collect those gases and treat him a different ways of me putting them through up a sprinkler system that would drive the the odor molecules out of the stream of the air or through a biofilter or some other technology the wit to remove them or what has happened. Is it almost all the swine barn and beam construction now have under the barn manure storage directly under the The Barn at celso the manure drops to a slatted floor into the manure storage facility been. The technology is there now to route that are through a biofilter and take out eighty or ninety percent of those odor molecules. So I think that we've we've learned as we've gone and we're going to have to go back and take some corrective action of some of the older systems that were put up like these open open air hog lagoons because they are clearly a problem to go back to the phone lines Walter from Stearns County is calling a good afternoon Walter. Thank you for doing a job down Renville Warren Western Stearns County and it was a statement made on the program about the most of the counties have I'm going to ordinance her and I won't say matter but the regulations governing feedlots in their counties in and I know that for sure not to be true for a fact that Stearns County's been working on it for over a year and we're finally going to get an ordinance regarding amateur Management's in The feet light issue in Stearns County and we are in a litigation right now. We have hog Barns and want to go up right in the lake area and we have had to fight this thing tooth and nail the people are very upsetting and one thing I hear about it in this is so far-fetched. I do come from a farm background of a backwood litter life came into the turkey business. My family was there every time you had a chemical every time you do a filter every time you do anything to improve something that costs money and it cost a lot of money and most of the pork producers that are coming in today at the end of the state right now are borrowing money or they're being lured in by large feed companies by everyone that can't the Builder pick Vernon's up hearbuilder beep did not have family farm anymore when you got 2000 3000 4000 pigs, that's not a family farm that turns into a factory and they're lured in and and What's happening is these people are spending two three four hundred thousand dollars and he's Barnes supposedly in so many years they get to own them. Like they didn't the chicken business years ago. Problem we have is if they're making debt payment on the buildings and on everything they're putting up if they're making debt payments on that and the price of pork Falls or the technology gifts. Were they have to improve on on to get rid of odors and now we're going to take us three years in the state to get an environmental or to see what's going to happen to the years down the road. I mean guys, we're out of control and I guess that's okay. Thanks for calling in Gary. Kubly. Are we out of control? Well, I think there are a lot of people Mark that feel that we're moving in that direction and I think the purpose of the Slowdown legislation was to take a look at what's out there to find out what's out there to find ways that those problems might be addressed whether those problems are real or perceived. I think hopefully this generic environmental impact study will will do something for us that will give us a Direction. But you know, I just another reason that a lot of people came out in support of the moratorium was that you know, yes, it does allow expansion to continue. You know during a. Of time when we're saying we don't know what the problems are. And so, you know shouldn't we slow it down until we can at least find out well the legislature this year said that no, we're not going to do that and it looks to me like, you know, that's probably where it's going to stay for that. Of time. We're going to have to work out in the end of the program Senator deal-closing thoughts about Izzy industry out of control. There are 48 counties that have adopted the state mpca program, but there's a lot of counties that have an adopted it but they have got their own feed light ordinance. My county of meeker's one Renville county is another I know Stearns County that the caller just called in about does not have a few. Or against but they're on the verge of getting one but this business about about criticizing farmers at want to try to expand because you're getting money from a seed company or they're getting a contract for they can manage their risks. I think it's as false really your fight by all this political opposition really contributing to the demise of the family farm not helping it and I What to finishing Barnes to 1,000 head finishing Barnes that's just a full-time job because of the technology and so you need to have some size and and allow the law these people to expand and it's not a big corporate factory farm business like they like to talk about these are family farmers are just trying to get a full-time job on the pharmacy intern enough money to feed their family service debt. Thanks. And with that we're going to bring the show dealer closeout thanks to say senator Steve Deland State Representative. Gerry. Koob late. Thanks. Also to we've been talking about feedlots here in case you haven't noticed and thanks also to 10% offer up st. Paul's Catholic Church here in country for letting us live broadcast from the church basement or engineer in st. Paul. This afternoon has been Randy Johnson here and Country ABS in skiing with Bentley handle the technical side, but at night men and Sarah Meyer and Michael call panga all in on the production executive producers are Kate Smith and male summer. The Main Street radio team is life. Anger. Dan Gunderson, Rachael Ray. Katherine winter and income free I'd markstyle a reminder to that NPR's Main Street radio coverage of Royal issues is supported by the blandin foundation committed to strengthening communities through grant-making leadership training and convening. Become a member of Minnesota Public Radio today and help us meet our goal of 85,000 members by the end of our fiscal year, June 30th. Please mail in your membership today or call us right now at 1 800-227-2811. Thanks. You're listening to Minnesota Public Radio. It's 80°. I can o w FM 91.1 Minneapolis-Saint Paul the Twin Cities weather forecast for today calls for mostly sunny skies with a high of 83 Northwest winds at 10 to 15 miles an hour.

Funders
Digitization made possible by the State of Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, approved by voters in 2008.

This Story Appears in the Following Collections

Views and opinions expressed in the content do not represent the opinions of APMG. APMG is not responsible for objectionable content and language represented on the site. Please use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report a piece of content. Thank you.

Transcriptions provided are machine generated, and while APMG makes the best effort for accuracy, mistakes will happen. Please excuse these errors and use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report an error. Thank you.

< path d="M23.5-64c0 0.1 0 0.1 0 0.2 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.3-0.1 0.4 -0.2 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.3 0 0 0 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.1 0 0.3 0.1 0.4 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.2 0 0.4-0.1 0.5-0.1 0.2 0 0.4 0 0.6-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.1-0.3 0.3-0.5 0.1-0.1 0.3 0 0.4-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.3-0.3 0.4-0.5 0-0.1 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1-0.3 0-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.2 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.3 0-0.2 0-0.4-0.1-0.5 -0.4-0.7-1.2-0.9-2-0.8 -0.2 0-0.3 0.1-0.4 0.2 -0.2 0.1-0.1 0.2-0.3 0.2 -0.1 0-0.2 0.1-0.2 0.2C23.5-64 23.5-64.1 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64"/>