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Livestock expansion continues

WORTHINGTON — The Nobles County Planning Commission approved several new or expanding livestock facilities during a Wednesday night meeting, including the construction of a new beef feedlot in a wellhead protection area south of Worthington.

0 Talk about it

Aaron Nystrom, Worthington, was granted a conditional use permit to construct a deep-pitted cattle barn in the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 14, Bigelow Township. The barn will house approximately 200 head of calves from weaning weight to about 500 pounds, Nystrom told commission members.

The barn is considered a new feedlot site because of its distance from the Nystrom homestead. Nystrom said he chose the location because the ground where it will be built is unproductive. The land was recently removed from the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), he added.

Nobles County Environmental Services Director Wayne Smith said the location Nystrom chose to construct the barn is within Worthington’s wellhead protection area, while the family’s home is outside the wellhead area.

“If he would ever go over 500 animal units in that location, it would require an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (because it’s within the wellhead),” Smith said. An EAW could cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000, he added.

“There are some counties that don’t allow new feedlots in a wellhead protection area,” shared Smith.

That said, some board members questioned whether there would be a better location on the property for the barn — outside the wellhead protection area.

“The goal someday might be another barn to finish them, but that’s not in the works right now,” Nystrom said, adding that he may have to look again at the siting for the structure.

A neighbor to the south, Ben Krohn, said he was concerned about odor from the proposed barn.

“Some of the concerns that I have with this building is its proximity to my acreage,” Krohn said. “My residence is a little over 1,100 feet from this barn and in a lower elevation from where he’s going to build his building.”

Krohn said he was not only concerned about odor, but the impact a barn in close proximity to his home might have on resale value for his property.

“I don’t know if he’s considered anywhere else on the land he owns other than this one spot,” Krohn said.

Worthington Public Utilities General Manager Scott Hain also voiced his concerns for the location of the barn.

“Anytime we get notice of someone that’s going to construct something in a wellhead protection area, we take interest,” Hain said. “This particular location concerned me possibly a little bit more because it’s just at the tip of the area that’s identified as a highly vulnerable area.”

Yet, Hain said he trusted the county’s environmental services staff to monitor the situation if the permit was approved.

To address Krohn’s concerns about the potential smell, Nystrom said the size of the animals — small calves — shouldn’t generate much odor.

“I’m a little immune too, but I don’t think there’s an odor,” he said. “You may only notice the barn when they’re pumping pits or hauling manure.”

Conditions placed on Nystrom’s permit include that liquid manure be incorporated, that a Level II manure application worksheet be completed and that the good neighbor policy be adhered to. The request was granted with one board member, Mike Hoeft, voting in opposition.

It will now advance to the Nobles County Board of Commissioners for consideration and action at their June 3 meeting.

In other action, the commission:

  • Approved a conditional use permit for Nick Einck, Wilmont, to operate a used car dealership on his property in Section 19, Bloom Township. Einck said he needed to be permitted to have up to five cars on the 3-acre site to obtain a Minnesota state dealer’s license, and said he has no intention of having his yard look junky. He will be able to erect a 4-foot by 8-foot sign advertising the cars for sale. The condition placed on the permit included that there be no more than six cars available for sale at any one time.
  • Approved a conditional use permit for Randy Hein, Brewster, to construct a hog finishing building with a concrete pit below in the southwest quarter of Section 28, Graham Lakes Township. The 2,400-head barn will be tunnel ventilated and constructed 70 feet from an existing barn.

Hein was permitted for a similar request five years ago but the barn was never constructed. Because there is a six-month time limit on a permit for construction to begin, he was required to reapply. The conditions placed on the permit include that Hein obtain all of the necessary permits from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency because the site exceeds 1,000 animal units and is required to have a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) plan in place prior to construction.

  • Granted a conditional use permit to Penning Brothers, Wilmont, to construct a cattle finishing barn with a concrete pit below in the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 4, Summit Lake Township. Russ Penning said the barn is designed for small calves of 200 to 300 pounds. Conditions placed on the permit include that liquid manure be incorporated and, because the site exceeds 1,000 animal units, that MPCA and NPDES permits be obtained prior to construction.

Earlier in the evening Wednesday, the Nobles County Zoning Board of Adjustment agreed to a variance request from the required 100-foot setback to a 50-foot setback from the south of the property line and 30 feet from the east of the property line.

  • Approved a conditional use permit for Jesse Feeken, Rushmore, to construct a calf barn on a 7-acre site in the northwest corner of the southwest quarter of Section 18, Ransom Township. The 40- by 300-foot structure will house calves from 250 to 500 pounds, with approximately 400 head on site. Manure will be stockpiled on farmland owned by his father. The only condition placed on the permit is that Feeken abide by the good neighbor policy.

Feeken was also granted a variance request earlier in the evening by the Nobles County Zoning Board of Adjustment to vary from the required 250-foot setback from the road right of way on the south side of the property to a 150-foot setback.

All of the conditional use permits will now advance to the Nobles County Board of Commissioners for consideration and action at their June 3 meeting.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment took the following additional actions Wednesday:

  • Granted Mitchell Lynn, Lismore, a variance of 175 feet instead of the required 250 feet from the road right of way for construction of a deep-pitted swine finishing barn on 5.4 acres in the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 30, Wilmont Township. Lynn said the variance was needed because he was unable to purchase additional land from an adjoining property owner, and shifting the barn back to the required setback would have required too much fill.
  • Approved a request from Son-D-Farms, Adrian, to vary from the required 100-foot setback to a 20-foot setback for the construction of a hog finishing barn with a concrete pit below, office, load out chute and generator shed in the southwest quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 11, Grand Prairie Township.

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Daily Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington and graduate of Worthington High School, then-Worthington Community College and South Dakota State University, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. At the Daily Globe, Julie covers the agricultural beat, as well as Nobles County government, watersheds, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework (cross-stitch and hardanger embroidery), reading, travel, fishing and spending time with family. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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