Outcry for 5000-head hog farm in rural Fillmore County

Among the rolling farmland south of Newberg, a proposed new hog feedlot, set to house 4980 sows.

In other words, it is expected to produce more than 7 million gallons of manure a year, leading to one of resident’s major concerns about this project.

"We have a huge concern with the water quality because of the kind of Karst area we have, where we have sinkholes and springs and groundwater and surface water intermingle," Loni Kemp, a nearby resident, said.

In order to get rid of all that manure, the permit states that it will be transferred onto area farmland.

Nearby residents say this will bring bad smells, increased traffic on gravel roads, lower property values, along with the possibility of polluting the water.

However this is mostly speculation.

That’s why residents are frantically writing into the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to get a more thorough impact study done.

The MPCA has conducted an Environmental Assessment Worksheet, that needs to be completed with every permit application.

It found that if the applicant takes all precautions, as it says it will take, there shouldn’t be any issues.

However residents say they’ve seen it before.

"There have been pits that leak, there have been pits that gave way," Kemp said. "One in the neighborhood right here was an open-air dairy pit but it was a relatively new operation and the wall just collapsed one day." 

The permit still requires approval from the County, MPCA and the EPA, so residents hope that the issue is thoroughly studied before anything goes through.

The open comment period lasts until Wednesday, but those with concerns hope for an extension period.

KTTC reached out to the area farmer associated with this project Monday, but our calls were not returned.

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