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Rushmore area cattle feedlot plans expansion

WORTHINGTON --EMDASH-- The Nobles County Planning Commission met in special session Wednesday night, during which a request for a feedlot expansion for Ryan Thier, rural Rushmore, was unanimously approved. The recommendation will now advance to the Nobles County Board of Commissioners on Aug. 20 for final approval.

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Thier plans to construct a 66- by 724-foot cattle confinement building with a concrete pit below to house approximately 1,500 head of feeder cattle on land in the west half of the northwest quarter of Section 26, Olney Township.

Since the building will be constructed on an existing feedlot with more than 1,000 animal units, Thier was also required to get a permit from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Nobles County Environmental Services Director Wayne Smith said he spoke with MPCA earlier Wednesday and was told Thier's application had been approved.

Thier joins a growing list of cattle producers who are constructing slated barns with manure storage pits below to house their animals.

"Slated barns seem like a pretty efficient way to go," he said, adding that the manure storage pit will have a nine-month capacity.

Plans are to pump manure from the pit through a 6-inch diameter drag line for incorporation into neighboring farm fields.

"I will try to sell as much as I can to the neighbors around me," Thier told the Planning Commission. "They understand the value of manure. There's quite a few guys asking for it."

Nobles County Feedlot Officer Al Langseth said the Thiers have more than enough land to accommodate the phosphorus and nitrogen levels from the manure stored in the concrete pit.

Thier said cattle will be moved into the barn at approximately 600 pounds and will remain there to finishing weight. Rubber mats will be installed to aid in cattle comfort.

"It's a state-of-the-art building, and it seems to be the way to go," added Smith. "This is the latest technology and the latest way to raise cattle."

Planning Commission member Steve Brake said, "You're seeing more of these buildings go up for ease in manure management."

Brake moved approval of the request without additional conditions placed on the permit.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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