The most notable benefit of implementing a Feedlot Review Committee (FRC) is that recommendations are being made to the planning commission, board of adjustment or county board of commissioners by individuals that have technical and scientific backgrounds and experience. The result is that the county feedlot officer and planning and zoning staff will make consistent recommendations on conditions that a variance or Conditional Use Permit (CUP) should have with confidence, in conjunction with the expertise of the FRC.
Recommendations from an FRC may also reduce the amount of time being spent by the planning commission, board of adjustment or county board of commissioners to review a proposed livestock project. It should be noted that the development of an FRC may not limit all concerns about livestock related variances or CUPs. However, an FRC can add a level of assurance that projects have been thoroughly reviewed as well as ensure that there is consistency in recommendations for conditions that may be placed on variances and CUPs.
The use of good science, factual information and statistics from reputable sources and experts should be utilized at the local level when decisions are made about new livestock operations and expansions and modifications to existing livestock operations. If you look at your community, you may already have some local experts and professionals such as staff from the local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), university, private sector and other local, state and federal agencies.
These experts and professionals may specialize in soils, wetlands, planning, biology, forestry, lake management, engineering, etc. These individuals can be part of a “Feedlot Review Committee” at the county level. Agricultural lenders, staff from the University of Minnesota Extension Service, local governmental representatives and other crop or livestock producers make excellent choices for a FRC.
An FRC can provide expertise and additional information to planning commissions, boards of adjustments, county boards of commissioners or other local committees regarding livestock projects. An FRC can focus on the technical and scientific issues surrounding a livestock operation proposal
and can review the proposal in detail prior to being reviewed by the planning commission, board of adjustment or county board of commissioners.
At a minimum, an FRC should consist of the local county feedlot officer, planning and zoning staff, technicians from the local SWCD office, soil scientists and/or technicians from the local NRCS office and a county commissioner. If additional expertise is needed, staff from state and federal agencies may be able to provide additional insight into specific issues or concerns.
A few counties currently have FRCs that meet on a regular basis to review proposals for new or expanding livestock operations. Dodge, McLeod, Stearns and Waseca Counties each have an FRC that reviews projects prior to being heard at a public hearing.
Jim Ostlie, Livestock Development and Planning Specialist
Kelly Anderson, Livestock Development Specialist
Ag Marketing & Development Division