LWV Holds Feedlot Press Conference

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On Tuesday, November 13, the Rice County Courthouse was the scene of a news conference held by the Northfield League of Women Voters to call attention to the impending action of the Rice County Commissioners to amend the feedlot ordinance.

Large feedlots and the resulting manure have the potential to pollute surface and ground waters. Since 1988, in response to a state mandate, Rice County has regulated feedlots associated with animal agriculture.

The ordinance includes regulations of the number of animals allowed in feedlots, the required acreage, the minimum separation between manure storage structures and abutting homes and the methodology for spreading manure on the soil. 

At issue are changes the Rice County Commissioners are considering which would relax many of the regulations. Opponents to the change, including the League of Women Voters, fear that the changes will endanger the many lakes and streams in Rice County as well as the ground water.

League member Suzannah Ciernia greeted the gathering and reviewed the work the League has done to strengthen water resource protection.  Featured speaker was Brad Redlin, Director of Agricultural Programs of the Izaak Walton League of America. Ciernia read a letter from Professor Peter S.Thorne, Director of the  Environmental Health Sciences Research Center, observing that a 2004 international workshop agreed that “the industrialization of livestock production . . . has not been accompanied by commensurate modernization of regulations . . . thus reversing or weakening the limited regulations that are in place is unwise.”

There will be a public hearing before the Planning Commission at the Rice County Government Services Center on November 15 at 7:30 p.m.. 

For additional information, contact Kathy Tezla, League President, 507/650-9877.