Manure and you: A look at feedlots in Douglas County
There's a new officer in town and she's maneuvering her way through the county's manure. Feedlot Officer Deja Anton presented Douglas County commissioners with an annual report covering the condition of farm sites and pastures from January 1 through December 31, 2012.
Douglas County has approximately 500 feedlots; 378 are state registered. Feedlots include dairy, beef, swine, poultry and other livestock sites. Farms that have as few as 10 animal units (AU) or seven large animals are considered feedlots.
A lot of manure accumulates on the lands where animals are kept. Because of this, water quality can be affected. The Minnesota Pollution Control Authority requires all feedlots with more than 50 AUs to register with the county and update registration every four years. Feedlots in shoreland zones with more than 10 AUs must also register. There are 60 registered feedlots with 10 or more AUs in Douglas County shorelands; none of these are in drinking water supply management areas.
Anton replaced Andy Siira, who resigned from the Land and Resources office in May 2012. She conducted 21 of 29 required site inspections between November and December 2012.
"A little over a third of those inspections resulted in a finding of non-compliance," Anton said. Most violations involved milkhouse waste issues, stockpiling and unpermitted pits. Twelve inspections were found to be not in compliance with water quality discharge standards.
Seven complaints were received in 2012, Anton said. One resulted in a written violation for stockpiling. A letter of warning was also issued.
Anton said she is starting to see farmers initiate fixes themselves by identifying problems and asking for advice on how to correct an issue. She said she wants to be seen as a resource for producers and will continue outreach visits to sites in the county.
"I have certainly enjoyed all the characters," Anton said of working with area farmers.
Anton lives in Todd County where she owns Deja-view Dairy outside of Browerville. She can be reached in the Douglas County Land and Resource Management office at (320) 762-2932 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crystal Dey Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota's Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter at @CrystalDey_Echo.