By Emily Bialkowski
There are approximately 600 registered feedlots in Houston County, Zoning Administrator Bob Scanlan told the county board April 23 during his yearly report.
The report comes to the board for approval and is required by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. “This report gives a picture of the progress that is being done on the local level (county) as far as feedlot compliance,” Scanlan said.
The report also confirms work done by feedlot staff that goes above and beyond the minimum program requirements. “Anything done above the minimum is considered ‘performance credit’ and counties are awarded for the additional work. Last year the performance credit award amounted to $8,170,” Scanlan said.
Some examples of how the county supercedes the standard include looking at manure applications and following up on complaints.
“For the last four or five years we’ve gone above the minimum program requirements. It’s a good incentive to keep plugging away here,” Scanlan said.
While discussing the report county commissioners asked for a definition of feedlot.
Scanlan said a feedlot is: any place where vegetation can’t be maintained through the growing season and where feeding of animals takes place.
He further clarified that a registered feedlot is: a feedlot with 50 animal units or more or 10 animal units or more near a creek.
“We have 20-head beef cow herds out there that aren’t required to register, but they are considered a feedlot,” Scanlan said.
The county has a total of 447 registered feedlots with an additional 150 (approximate) registered of their own choosing.
A person can own 200 head of cattle and not have to register if the cattle graze in a pasture that maintains vegetation.
Confinement, vegetation and number of animal units all factor into whether a producer needs to register.
Feedlots re-register every four years, and the zoning department is about three fourths of the way through evaluating permits due in 2013.