Douglas County Feedlot Coordinator Mark Koep works with area farmers to make sure they are compliant with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. He is the direct link between the farmer and the MPCA.

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, he asked the Douglas County Board of Commissioners to approve the MCPA County Feedlot Program Delegation Agreement Work Plan – an annual task.

In essence, this plan describes in detail the county’s plans, strategies and goals for administration and implementation of the county’s feedlot program.

It is a two-year plan that can be changed or modified as needed throughout the year, Koep said.

The county is delegated as a regulatory entity, meaning it performs inspections, and in doing so, it receives state funding.

Land and Resource Management Director Dave Rush commended Koep, saying that he does a great job working with area farmers and that a lot of what he does is working one-on-one with them to make sure they are in compliance with state laws.

As the feedlot coordinator, Koep is the local point of contact for feedlot operators who have questions about land usage, construction, expansion, manure applications, livestock density, pasturing and more. He also responds to environmental complaints and often serves as a mediator between landowners.

Douglas County has almost 500 registered feedlots, but of those, 322 are required to be registered because of their size. Koep said, however, that doesn’t mean they are all still operational. The 322 figure is based on data from the last five years, he said.

The vast majority of the feedlots in Douglas County are cattle. He said there are four turkey feedlots and one hog. And although there are feedlots throughout the whole county, the majority are located in two townships, Lake Mary and Millerville. Most, Koep said, are in Millerville Township.

The overall number of feedlots are down about 20 percent, but that doesn’t mean the number of animals has decreased. Koep said the county has lost about 15 dairy farms over the last several years, but the animals have moved to other farms. Some smaller operations can’t sustain nowadays, so they have consolidated with larger operations, he said.

County commissioners thanked Koep for the information and approved the plan he presented to them.

In other action

Douglas County commissioners also approved the following items:

  • The Douglas Area Trails Association’s continuance in the Minnesota Grant in Aid Program.

  • Joint powers agreement between Horizon Public Health and Supporting Hands Family Partnership.

  • A $500 donation from Carma Tucker in memory of her husband, Lael Tucker, to be used for the Douglas County Sheriff’s K-9 unit.

  • Preliminary plat for Miltona Lakeview Estates First Addition, a six-lot plat in Miltona Township.

  • Preliminary plat for Wally Lake Addition, a one-lot plat in Urness Township.

  • Joint powers agreement with the West Central Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force.

  • Appointment of Commissioner Charlie Meyer to the Viking Library System board of directors.