Letter about leaving feedlot cap alone – to protect our water…
To the Editor,
There is a move afoot to double the size of allowable feedlots in Fillmore County. The Fillmore County Planning Commission has taken it upon itself to propose that new feedlots could be permitted, or existing ones expanded, raising the current limit of 2,000 “animal units” to the outrageous size of 4,000 animal units (based on the amount of manure produced.) Imagine if 4,000 steers, or 2,800 dairy cows, or 13,000 hogs come to your community, along with the amount of manure each of those feedlots would produce. That manure would have to go somewhere, and it would be spread over the landscape as fertilizer. Imagine the odors and road deterioration.
The vast majority of Fillmore County is rated highly vulnerable to water table aquifer pollution, according to the Department of Agriculture. A 2018 Minnesota study of private water wells in 24 townships of Fillmore County found striking results. It turns out that 17% of private wells sampled were already at or above the health standard (10 milligrams per liter for nitrate-N.) An estimated 1,500 Fillmore County residents already could be drinking well water so polluted that it is over the health risk limit. Young babies are particularly vulnerable. Inviting a doubling of feedlot capacity when 17% of private water wells are already polluted with nitrates is bad policy. We must try to solve the water problems first, not add to them with ever larger feedlots. This proposal must be stopped.
Everyone is invited to make your views known by attending the Planning Commission hearing on February 16, 2023, at 7 p.m. The meeting is in the Fillmore County Courthouse, Room 601L.
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