Farm Horizons, Oct. 2015

How friendly are you?

By Lori Brinkman

Assistant Carver County Feedlot Administrator

While conducting a recent feedlot site inspection, the subject of livestock friendliness surfaced.

Just how livestock-friendly is Carver County? How many livestock farms remain in Carver County?

There’s no doubt that livestock numbers have dwindled, but that’s a trend seen statewide. The number of farms in Minnesota declined 8 percent from 2007 to 2012, citing the reduction in livestock farms as the reason for the overall decline. The number of crop farms remained steady during the same time period.

Large farms were the only farms that increased in number, with a 14 percent increase among farms greater than 2,000 acres.

The discussion persuaded me to search the term, “livestock-friendly.”

I found that Nebraska has a Livestock Friendly County program in place to promote the livestock industry.

Criteria for becoming a Livestock Friendly County includes an expression of interest in developing the livestock production and processing sectors of the county’s economy, an acknowledgment that livestock is important to the economic well-being of the county, an assurance that the county intends to work with all other governmental jurisdictions within its boundaries in implementing livestock development within the county, and a commitment to compliance with the Livestock Waste Management Act.

Carver County is still strongly committed to agriculture, and positive arguments could be made on any of the criteria listed to assess livestock friendliness.

We’re in a different era in what defines livestock-friendly, and that is pointed out clearly in requiring a commitment to compliance with livestock waste management requirements.

Under the program, being environmentally-friendly and river-friendly is synonymous with being livestock-friendly.

Here’s a friendly reminder: Follow all land application of manure setback requirements this fall, and keep sensitive areas in mind if you must haul manure on frozen or snow-covered ground this winter.

Have a safe harvest.

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