A new proposal from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) would strap fees on nearly every livestock farm in the state – those with as few as seven cows – in a scheme to raise money. The agency has long been tasked to close the gap between the fees it takes in and the amount it spends on regulation of the water and has determined that 30% of the revenue should come from the industry. 

In the case of feedlots, they aim to grow $330,651 in revenue to fill that gap, and mostly on the backs of farmers that are not under an NPDES or SDS permit. The Department proposes annual registration of $12.50 for 10 to 299 animal units, $25 for 300 to 499 animal units and $50 for 500-999 animal units, with $175 for CAFOs without NPDES/SDS permits. There are also increases for general and individual permits for feedlots under construction, doubling from to $1,240 and $2,480, respectively.

These increases are on top of a general fund increase as well. Minnesota Milk contends that our state government should consider feedlots adhering to the water rules in the public good, like our neighboring states do. MPCA would not do any additional service for most of the farms paying the new fees, and most of those farms are already regulated through permits at the county and/or local level. Program expenditures would make more sense from the state’s general fund or the Clean Water Fund – a tax already totaling about $110 million per year.

Tell MPCA this nickel-and-dime proposal is not how we should do business in Minnesota. You can attend public meetings at MPCA offices in Brainerd, Detroit Lakes, Duluth, Mankato, Marshall, Rochester or St. Paul (Feb. 10, via video-conference); or Rochester (Feb. 13). For more information, see Amendments to water quality fee rules. Provide your feedback online by visiting: 34479 Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Request for Comments.