Last reviewed December 2009
Resources on Minnesota Issues
This guide is compiled by staff at the Minnesota Legislative Reference
Library on a topic of interest to Minnesota legislators. It is designed to provide
an introduction to the topic, directing the user to a variety of sources, and
is not intended to be exhaustive.
Large livestock feedlots, also known as concentrated animal feeding operations,
have been controversial in Minnesota as in other states. Environmental concerns
include air pollution, ground water contamination, surface water contamination,
and the long-term reliability of waste containment facilities. The social and
economic impacts of these large operations on rural communities have been questioned
During the 1998 session of the Minnesota Legislature the feedlot issue sparked
heated debate. The House passed a moratorium on new construction or expansion
of feedlots at the level of 750 animal units. The Senate and the Governor did
not support a moratorium. The final language, passed as part of the Environment,
Natural Resources, and Agriculture spending bill (Laws of Minnesota 1998, chapter 401) did not include a moratorium.
Several provisions of this law affected feedlots. One such change was that counties
are allowed to adopt feedlot ordinances calling for standards more stringent than
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency rules. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
(MPCA) regulates animal feedlots in Minnesota, according to Minnesota
Rules, chapter 7020.
Recognizing the need for further study of animal agriculture, the Legislature
appropriated $1.2 million to the Office of Strategic and Long-Range Planning for
the first year of a three-year study of the effects of the livestock industry
on the state's economy and environment. (Laws
of Minnesota 1998, chapter 366, section 86). Staff at the Environmental
Quality Board conducted a Generic Environmental
Impact Statement on Animal Agriculture, advised by a citizen committee. (Detailed
information about Minnesota's 1998 legislation is outlined in a House Research
Department Information Brief,
1998 Law Changes Affecting Minnesota Animal Feedlots.)
In May 1999, a bill (House File 1235/Senate File 692) was passed that eased restrictions on feedlot operators. One provision exempted feedlots from compliance with standards for ambient hydrogen sulfide for the days when manure is being
removed from barns or storage facilities and handled for application or disposal.
The bill was vetoed by Governor Ventura on May 25, 1999.
A new law in 2000 relaxed feedlot rules (Laws of Minnesota 2000, chapter 435). The law gave legislative direction
to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) on how the rules should be amended
before final adoption. The MPCA Citizens' Board passed revised rules on August
22, 2000. On October 23, 2000 those feedlot
rule changes took affect.
On May 17, 2002, the governor signed the omnibus agriculture policy law (Laws of Minnesota 2002, chapter 373) which bars the Minnesota Pollution
Control Agency or a county board from approving permits for the construction of
open-air swine manure basins. For exceptions to this prohibition, see the House
Research Bill Summary for H.F. 3183. The moratorium was originally effective May 18, 2002
through June 30, 2007, but was extended by 2007 Laws of Minnesota, chapter 45, article 1, section 56. Section 56 expires June 30, 2012.
In 2005 the Minnesota Legislature allocated funds to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to develop a program to assist local units of government with agricultural planning and zoning issues and livestock siting issues. As a result of this legislative action, the Local Land Use and Livestock Siting Program was formed.
SIGNIFICANT BOOKS AND REPORTS:
Feedlot Program: Report to the Legislature. (2003
edition) St. Paul: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. (TD930.2.T86 2003)
(Required by Laws
of Minnesota 2001 First Special Session, chapter 2, section 2.)
Animal Feedlot Regulation.
St. Paul: Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor, Program Evaluation Division,
1999. (KFM5646.A65 1999)
Feedlot Financial Needs Assessment
Report for Feedlots with Less Than 300 Animal Units
to Comply with Applicable State Rules and Statutes
by October 1, 2010. Minnesota
Board of Water and Soil Resources, January 2008.
Impact Statement on Animal Agriculture (Required by Laws
of Minnesota 1998, chapter 366, section 86.):
Hendrick, Scott and Doug Farquhar. Concentrated
Animal Feeding Operations: A Survey of State
Policies. Denver, CO: National Conference of State Legislatures,
2008. (KF1730.H46 2008) A five page summary is available.
Legislative Report of the Feedlot Hydrogen Sulfide Program. St. Paul:
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, February 1998. (TD885.5.H9 L44 1998) (Required
of Minnesota 1997, chapter 216, section 159.)
Local Governments, and Land Use: A Guide for Local
Officials. St. Paul: Minnesota Department
of Agriculture, 2006.
to the Legislature: Public Participation in Permitting
of Animal Feedlots for Feedlots under 1,000 Animal
Units. (Required by Laws of MN 2003,
chapter 128, article 3, section 46) St. Paul:
Minnesota Environmental Quality Board, 2004.
Sullivan, Colbey. A Minnesota Lawmaker�s Guide to the Agri-Environmental Policy Landscape. St. Paul: Minnesota House of Representatives, Research Department, 2009. (S589.757.M6 S85 2009)
SIGNIFICANT INTERNET RESOURCES:
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), a division of the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency - Animal Feeding Operations
Conference of State Legislatures - Concentrated
Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO), State and Federal reports
Natural Resources Defense Council- America's
Animal Factories: How States Fail to Prevent Pollution from Livestock Waste,
ADDITIONAL LIBRARY RESOURCES:
For historical information, check the following codes in the Newspaper Clipping File and the Vertical
A12.22 (Agriculture - Livestock), A12.45 (Agriculture - Pollution), A12.6 (Agriculture
- Corporate Farms)
For additional reports at the Legislative Reference Library, use these
GROUPS INVOLVED WITH THIS ISSUE: