City of Renville, Minnesota, approves permit for Forsman Farms development
Renville City Council members and a Forsman Farms company representative expressed a desire for a good working partnership as a conditional use permit was approved. Forsman Farms will develop a cage-free, egg-laying operation that could house up to 1.3 million birds on the former Rembrandt site on the city's east end.
RENVILLE — Forsman Farms is hoping to begin construction this summer on an egg-laying operation on the east edge of the city of Renville.
“Our goal is to start this summer, probably the July to August time frame, really get moving on it,” said Nate Taylor, director of sustainability and regulatory affairs for Forsman Farms.
His remarks on Tuesday evening were addressed to the Renville City Council, which unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the project.
If all goes as hoped, egg production could be underway on the site in the summer of 2023, according to Taylor.
Council members and Taylor expressed their desires at the meeting for a good working partnership between the city and company. Council member Adam Zaske said the council welcomes the jobs and new business the development represents for the community.
Forsman Farms is planning to develop a cage-free farm with 1.3 million egg layers on the approximately 91-acre property.
The operation will be built on the former Rembrandt Foods property, which was initially developed as an egg-laying operation in 1994 by the Golden Oval cooperative. Rembrandt acquired the site in 2004. It housed as many as 2 million egg-laying birds in a cage system and had an egg-processing plant at the site. It ceased operations in early 2020.
Forsman Farms will begin its development of the site by removing the barns, office facility and wastewater treatment plant that remain on the site. In their place, Forsman Farms will construct a barn for pullets, the young birds raised to become egg layers, as well as four separate layer barns. The plans also call for pellet storage, packing and accessory buildings.
Eggs produced in Renville will be transported to the Forsman Farms operations in Howard Lake, according to information presented to City Council members at a hearing held on the permit earlier this year.
At that hearing, Colin McGraw, director of operations for Forsman Farms, emphasized the company’s commitment to preventing the nuisance fly and odor issues that had troubled previous operations on the site. He pointed out that litter produced by birds will be continuously removed from the barns by conveyor belts and scrapers to a dryer. The manure will be dried to a 12% moisture level and pelletized for sale as fertilizer.
In contrast, the former operations held waste in pits under the barns.
At this week’s meeting, council members said an opportunity to tour Forsman Farms operations had helped win their support for this permit.
The conditional use permit provides for monitoring fly populations and assessing odors based on a University of Minnesota model. Dave Distad of Renville County Public Health said the department will also work with the city if any nuisance issues are reported.
Taylor told council members that the family-owned company takes great pride in being a good neighbor.
“We don’t talk about making the most money. (We) want to be best in class. Great birds, great neighbors. I think it will be a great partnership,” said Taylor.
The company expects to begin hiring for the operations this fall. Operations will ramp up gradually. Taylor said there will likely be 30 jobs created by the operation. He said they will be good jobs for the community with competitive wages.