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Kimball, Minnesota
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June 16, 2016     Tri-County News
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June 16, 2016
 

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Y PAGE 2 June 16, 2016 www.tricountynews.mn ( By lean Doran Matua, Editor Breaking the rules of writing, here's the conclusion of this story so far: Caesar Larson has with- drawn his application for the hog farm near Kimball, and it is no lon- ger in the process to be approved by Stearns County. Now, back to the story. In April this year, an applica- tion was filed for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for a CAFO (con- centrated animal feeding opera- tion) with 2,460 sows and their lit- ters - 40-60,000 piglets each year. Five buildings would be built on 10 acres for a gestation barn, farrow- ing barn, compost storage build- ing, office building, and garage. It is estimated that 7 million gallons of liquid manure could be stored. (Their plan was later altered for a capacity of 4-5 million gallons.) The CAFO would be located near the enormous grain bins built there a few years ago. The bins are owned by Thompson Insurance, one of Caesar Larson's companies. The CAFO plan calls for applica- tion of 5,700 gallons per acre per year of liquid hog manure, known to be especially vile smelling. RD Offett (also known as RDO, a North Dakota corporation), work- ing with Larson, owns 570 acres around the silos for this applica- tion. He has tried to lease other lands, and could likely purchase more, in cash. A group quickly formed, estab- lishing a non-profit status and set- ting up a bank account at Harvest Bank in Kimball. "Kimball Clean Water Association" states as its mission: "To promote, pre- serve and protect water resources within the boundaries of the dis- trict in order to maintain property values and quality of life." They set out to le~arn more about CAFOs, as there are none so large in this part of Minnesota. What they learned horrified them and, they hope, will scare others who live in this area, especially those within a three-mile radius of the proposed hog CAFO. i. Their chief concern is that the proposed location is between three environmentally sensi- tive lakes and other wetlands and streams. The potential is high, they believe, for pollution of the aquafer into which all residents have drilled their wells. Many local wells already test high for nitrates; a CAFO and millions of gallons of liquid hog manure being applied to the soil each year could only make that worse. Four hundred people poured upstairs at Powder Ridge, wait- ing to hear what they need to do to stop the application. There were cheers and applause when Mike Schindler, one of the key people in the Kimball Clean Water Assoc., announced that Caesar Larson had officially and in writing with- drawn his application for the CUP here. But this is not the end of the group's activity. What they want is to change ordinances to protect sensitive areas from CAFO intru- sion and pollution. Larson's CUP application had already passed one of the three steps before con- struction would begin: the Feedlot Evening photo taken from School Section Lake, from public landing parking lot. Several ponds and wetlands surround the lake, and it's all set aside as a state game refuge. In the background are the silos that would be a part of the Caesar Larson/ RDO factory hog farm operation. It meets the setbacks from the lake, but just barely. The application to build and operate such a farm was withdrawn by Caesar Larson, so there is no immediate danger; but he can re-apply at any time and there's nothing (yet) to prevent his application from being approved by the county. Staffphoto by Jean Doran Matua. Review Committee approved, Clean Water group learned in their system was determined to be in with a 6-1 vote, Larson's applica- research: high danger of pollution. Today it's tion. Ticking items off a checklist, The proposed CAFO shares "very high," particularly high in they discussed it for 45 minutes the same aquafer as three con- nitrates. before approving it. nected, spring-fed lakes: School A rule of thumb for "normal" Larson can apply again, at any Section, Carnelian, and Murray. draining soil is that water drains time. It could be here, or it could be Beaver Lake and up to Kimball through into the aquafer within somewhere near here. share the same aquafer, decades to centuries. Our soil, Here are some ofthe things the In 2007, our groundwater CAFO/Topage3 m Scat Shaker 2016 Dodge Challenger Hellcat 7O7 HI= NEW-tn RT 21k II11. Challenger Hemi, Boston Sense 21k mL ~218516 RT IO(P Anniv Unlmtd 2014 Wrangler Unlmtd Sport 4x4 ij Tow, J n! I ! | | ! ler Rubicon 4x4 Trailer Tow 27k ml