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Hog expansion approved for Colfax Township

WILLMAR -- Expansion of a confinement hog operation in Colfax Township was unanimously approved Monday by the Kandiyohi County Planning Commission.

When the two additional barns are built at the Dale and Deb Anderson farm, the structures will house 4,500 hogs, or 1,350 animal units.

Their facility currently holds 2,500 hogs, or 750 animal units.

Plans also call for an office to be constructed on the barn site.

As part of the conditional use permit, the Planning Commission agreed to use language that is more restrictive than state requirements when it comes to incorporating the manure into farm fields.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency states that manure must be incorporated "immediately." But Kandiyohi County Commissioner Harlan Madsen, who is also on the Planning Commission, said the state defines "immediately" as 24 hours.

Madsen said Kandiyohi County's feedlot ordinance defines immediately as 30 seconds.

The initial set of conditions proposed by zoning administrator Gary Geer stated that Anderson be required to follow all state rules for manure management.

Madsen said, however, that conditional use permits for other hog feedlots in the county specifically state that manure must be incorporated into the soil within 30 seconds.

He said the county needs to be consistent and include the same language in the permits.

With current farm equipment, Madsen said it is not difficult to immediately inject the liquid manure into the soil. Doing so greatly reduces the chance of foul odor.

Tim Huber, a Stearns County resident who owns hunting land near the Andersons, praised the family's farm operation but said the commissioners should consider all environmental factors, such as odor and potential groundwater contamination.

Also Monday, the Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit for a small gravel pit in Fahlun Township.

Trisha Alsdurf told the board that she and her husband, Marc, recently bought the property and will eventually build a home there. After being informed there was about 80,000 yards of gravel on the 4- to 5-acre site, they decided to seek a permit to have a contractor mine the gravel before they build their home there.

She said they were hoping the mining process would also create a small lake on the property. "If that's OK with everyone," she said.

Members of the Fahlun Township board expressed concerns about potential damage to roads and a bridge and said dust control was an issue when gravel was taken from a site several years ago.

With 80,000 yards of gravel in the pit, Madsen said that would be a short two-week job for most contractors.

The board responded to the township's concerns and adjusted the list of conditions, by shortening the life of the permit to five years and requiring the pit owner to be responsible for dust control and for any road or bridge repairs.

Alsdurf said her family would do whatever the township and her neighbors wanted them to do. "We don't ruffle any feathers," she said.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750