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Variance approved for Nobles County swine farm expansion

WORTHINGTON -- The Nobles County Board of Adjustment on Wednesday evening approved a request from Trent and Jesse Slater, doing business as Slater Brothers Livestock, to construct a total confinement swine finishing barn in the northeast quarter ...

WORTHINGTON - The Nobles County Board of Adjustment on Wednesday evening approved a request from Trent and Jesse Slater, doing business as Slater Brothers Livestock, to construct a total confinement swine finishing barn in the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 16, Larkin Township.

The brothers requested a variance to build what will be their second barn on the site because the proposed location doesn’t meet the required 2,640-foot separation distance as outlined in the Nobles County feedlot ordinance. Once constructed, the barn will stand approximately 2,143 feet from the nearest neighbor.

“We tried to find another spot, but that’s the only land we could find,” said Trent Slater. The site is 592 feet by 484 feet, and located at 18703 Edwards Ave.

A change in topography and the proximity of a creek meant the barn couldn’t be moved further north on the property.

Feedlot Officer Mitch Hartwig said he received a call from the nearest neighbor regarding the Slaters’ plans, but that no comments were made either in support or opposition to the project.

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The variance was approved with conditions the barn be built according to plan, dead animal containment be provided, there be no more livestock expansions on the site, that manure be incorporated, that a pit additive be used to control odor and that all state permits must be in place.

The Slaters then took their request to the Planning Commission, seeking a conditional use barn to construct the barn. A conditional use permit is required because the site will house more than 1,000 animal units.

The new barn will house approximately 2,400 head of finishing pigs, which is the same size as the existing barn on the site. The Slaters said they will have access to both rural water and a well on site.

With unanimous approval by the Planning Commission of the plans, a recommendation for approval will now advance to the Nobles County Board of Commissioners for final consideration on Tuesday morning.

In other business, members of the Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment continue to discuss revisions to the county’s feedlot ordinance, specifically separation distances between livestock operations and neighboring landowners and communities.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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