Farm Horizons, Aug. 2015

You know it’s summer when . . .

By Lori Brinkman
Assistant Carver County Feedlot Administrator

This morning, while sitting in the orthodontist waiting room, I overheard a conversation that made my heart sink just a little. One mother said to another, “The county fair is already next week. You know what that means. Summer’s almost over.”

When I arrived at my office just an hour later, I received a complaint from a Carver County resident regarding the burning of a manure stockpile and the smoke was billowing toward their home. At that moment I was reminded that there is a lot of summer left, and then I pondered how I might respond to a complaint of a burning manure pile.

Manure is a lot of things. As a fertilizer it is second to none. It adds organic matter to the soil. At my house, our manure compost pile is growing the most amazing group of pumpkins I have ever seen.

Manure should not be burnt. Manure should not be piled in wetlands. Manure should not be piled in frequently flooded areas. Manure should not be piled next to wetlands that flow to pristine lakes in Carver County. In short, I know summer is in full swing when I receive complaints about manure. This summer has been worse than previous years.

According to Minnesota Feedlot Rule 7020, manure stockpiles should be located 300 feet of flow distance or 50 feet of horizontal distance to waters of the state, sinkholes, rock outcroppings, open tile intakes, and any uncultivated wetlands which are not seeded to annual farm crops or crop rotations involving perennial grasses or forages. They should also be placed 300 feet of flow distance to any road ditch that flows to the features mentioned in the previous sentence.

In addition, in Carver County no manure stockpile, of a feedlot of over 30 animal units, shall be permitted within 200 feet of residences, churches, schools, regional parks, cemeteries, non-agricultural commercial and industrial activities, and restaurants.

If you are located outside Carver County and have questions regarding manure stockpile setback requirements, contact your local zoning or environmental services departments.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

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