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Feedlot given ‘smell’ test

By Staff | Mar 7, 2011

Bill Groskreutz

A proposed hog feedlot near Wells is raising a stink with some neighbors.

Although Faribault County commissioners will not issue a permit for the 960 animal-units facility, the board held a hearing at its Tuesday meeting to give the public a chance to comment.

Commissioner Bill Gros-kreutz read a letter on behalf of Myron and Kathy Stenzel.

“We oppose its location because of the smell we will incur at our dwelling when there is a south wind. We cannot understand why this facility can’t be put up near your own dwelling,” the Stenzels wrote.

Those in attendance were mainly concerned about odors that could come from the feedlot planned by Doug and Christie Wetzel in Dunbar Township.

“There’s no such thing as an odor-free hog building. We will use pit additives to eliminate some of the odor,” says Doug Wetzel. “I want to do everything I can and try to be neighborly.”

Wetzel says he owns another feedlot and has not had any complaints about odor. The feedlot will be built about eight miles from where the Wetzels live.

Doug says Bolton & Menk engineers visited his property and determined it was not suitable for the new hog operation.

“There is absolutely nowhere I can put it on my property to be in compliance with setbacks,” he says.

Andrew Nesseth of Extended Ag Services of Lakefield has been working with the Wetzels. He says building the feedlot at the proposed site would limit wear on the roads.

Nesseth’s company also has conducted odor tests for the facility.

Tony Mosser of Wells says about 15 years ago he and his wife purchased a small acreage near where the facility is planned and they are hoping to retire.

“If there’s a hog facility I can hear and smell, I probably won’t be building our dream house there,” Mosser says.

Brett Sindelir says Wetzel has been “accommodating and accessible” to answer any questions he might have.

“I’ll meet with any and all,” says Wetzel.

On behalf of Tim and Sue Rollenhagen — who live less than half a mile east from the proposed site — Sindelir read their letter.

The Rollenhagens question how the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) determines when an “odor event” has violated clean air standards.

Wayne Cords of the MPCA says “odor events” are not necessarily tied to exceeding air-quality standards.

“While it may stink, it does not violate or exceed our hydrogen sulfide standards,” he says.

Groskreutz tried to reassure those in attendance that the county has tough regulations that feedlot operators must comply with.

“We are one of the most restrictive counties as far as locating feedlots,” he says. “I feel Doug and Christie are good operators and will do everything they can to alleviate any concerns or problems.”