Moratorium on new feedlots expected in Roseville Township

HAWICK -- Roseville Township supervisors are expected to approve an interim ordinance tonight that will place a one-year moratorium on construction of new livestock feedlots.

HAWICK -- Roseville Township supervisors are expected to approve an interim ordinance tonight that will place a one-year moratorium on construction of new livestock feedlots.

The action, which will be taken during a special meeting at 8 p.m. in the Roseville Town Hall in Hawick, will happen the day before the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners will take public testimony on 10 proposed turkey barns in the county, including four near Hawick.

Jennie-O Turkey Store, based in Willmar, has requested conditional use permits from the county for the feedlot expansions.

One of the barns is proposed to be built a quarter-mile away from Hawick, off Township Road 106, with three other barns on the other side of that road. The new barns would be in addition to turkey barns that are already in operation nearby.

"To me, this is way too close to all these people," said Willmar Quarfot, a Hawick resident. "No other town in Kandiyohi County would want it that close."


Mike Flanders, a supervisor with Roseville Township, said residents are concerned about a number of environmental factors, especially nitrates in groundwater. The area has a high water table and many residents use sand points, where water is 15 to 20 feet deep.

Flanders said he's confident the interim ordinance establishing the feedlot moratorium will be approved by the town board during the meeting, which he called a "formality" in the process.

"We pretty much know where the people stand on this," he said, referring to opposition to additional turkey barns around Hawick.

The unincorporated town has about 60 homes and 125 residents. "I expect it will be a pretty short meeting."

Flanders said that once the ordinance is approved, the moratorium will be put in place.

Eric Van Dyken, assistant zoning administrator for Kandiyohi County, said their office has been advised by County Attorney Boyd Beccue that if Roseville Township does approve the interim ordinance tonight, it would have "no bearing" on the county's action Tuesday on the conditional use permits.

Flanders said the attorney retained by the township has told them Jennie-O could not proceed with building the barns with a township moratorium in place, even if the conditional use permits are approved by the county.

As part of the interim ordinance, the township will have one year to study zoning options and weigh the possibility of adopting and implementing its own comprehensive zoning ordinance, rather than leaving the township only under the county zoning ordinance.


Flanders said that the county "is not really protecting us very well," and the township will take a serious look at taking over its own zoning issues.

Concerns that turkey barns may cause increased nitrates in drinking water are also being expressed in Stearns County.

Ruth Binnebose, of rural Brooten, said Jennie-O intends to build new turkey barns a quarter-mile away from her home. Like the Hawick area, she said homes in the Brooten area also have shallow water tables and sand points that are used for livestock and gardens.

Binnebose and her neighbors are considering hiring an attorney to help them get their concerns heard and get the barns moved. She said Jennie-O is an important employer for the community, but there needs to be assurance they are operating in an environmentally safe way.

Pat Solheid, vice president of human resources for Jennie-O Turkey Store, said the company is expanding its facilities in Kandiyohi and Meeker counties to "meet consumer needs."

Solheid could not comment on any expansion in Stearns County.

Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at or 320-894-9750
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