ROUND LAKE — A parcel of land in eastern Indian Lake Township in Nobles County has been transformed into a major composting operation for euthanized hogs coming from the JBS pork processing facility in Worthington, as well as hogs from area farmers.

Mike Crusan, communications director with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, said delivery of hog carcasses to the site began over the weekend. The parcel of land can accommodate the delivery of up to 2,000 head per day, though it hasn’t reached peak efficiency at this point. JBS announced last week it could euthanize 3,000 head of hogs per day.

The parcel where the composting is taking place is located about a mile and a half north of the city of Round Lake and roughly a mile west of the lake that bears the same name, according to information received by The Globe on Monday. Crusan said the site would not have been chosen if there were any potential environmental risks.

An incident management team that includes staff from the Board of Animal Health is overseeing the composting operation to ensure the compost pile is constructed correctly. Proper construction should eliminate the attraction of flies or scavengers, and should not emit an odor, Crusan said.

“It should just be, to the naked eye, a pile of wood chips out there,” he said. “The wood chips over the top of the pile, beneath the pile and all around it are going to be keeping all of those odors and all of those things contained as the microbes inside the pile do their work.”

The hog carcasses delivered to the Nobles County site will be run through the chipper simultaneously with the wood material — a new concept in the hog industry.

“This whole approach … began being evaluated in composting just within the last year because of African Swine Fever,” Crusan said. “The pork industry nationwide was studying ways of effectively composting mass carcasses if we were to get that in the United States.”

Chipping the hog carcasses with the carbon material was studied in the Carolinas, Crusan said, adding that it was found to be effective in shortening the length of composting time.

“Obviously we’re now in a non-disease situation, but we have a similar situation where we have to compost a large quantity of animals,” Crusan said. “This is one of the ways we know that we can effectively compost and probably speed up the composting process.”

Crusan said they don’t yet know how many days it will take for the hogs to be fully composted, though it will be considerably shorter than the 60 days it takes for a fully intact carcass to be composted.

Once the composting process is complete, the material can either be spread over the land or incorporated, adding nutrient-rich material to the soil.

A third-party contractor was hired to operate the chipping equipment and build the compost pile in Nobles County. The composting service is being offered to farmers at no cost to them, other than trucking the carcasses to the site. Farmers must call ahead to (651) 201-6041 before delivering carcasses to the site.

The Minnesota Pork Producers Association is working with the Incident Management Team to establish three other composting sites in the state.

“They are trying to find other areas where there are congregations of large swine operations so they can better serve those people with a centralized site,” Crusan said, adding that farmers will have the option to deliver hog carcasses to those sites or compost on their own property.

Hog producers are welcome to contact the Minnesota Board of Animal Health with questions regarding composting hog carcasses by calling (651) 296-2942 or emailing The agency also has a guide for carcass disposal on its website,