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Becker County slaps 1-year moratorium on new feedlots

The moratorium on new concentrated animal feeding operations will last for up to one year, giving the county time to rework its agricultural zoning rules to avoid becoming a feedlot hub.

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DETROIT LAKES — Becker County on Tuesday put a temporary freeze on confined animal feedlots over 200 animal units.

The moratorium on new concentrated animal feeding operations will last for up to one year, giving the county time to rework its agricultural zoning rules to avoid becoming a feedlot hub.

Commissioners approved it on a 4-1 vote, with Richard Vareberg voting in opposition.

“Spring Creek Township supports this,” said Commissioner Barry Nelson, who represents the northwestern Becker County area.

The moratorium will not affect a feedlot approved earlier this month for 3,000 pigs in Spring Creek Township, but that feedlot was the impetus for the board action Tuesday.

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At least one Spring Creek Township resident was worried that the wave of big animal feedlots in Iowa and southern Minnesota is now heading north. “I don’t think we want to be the next animal livestock hub in the United States,” Nelson said at a county board meeting earlier this month. He suggested the possibility of a moratorium to give the county time to catch up on its agricultural zoning rules.

White Earth Tribal Chairman Michael Fairbanks was also at the meeting earlier this month, and spoke against large concentrated animal feeding operations within the boundaries of the White Earth reservation.

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