Is this Minnesota county's animal unit cap killing business?
About five years ago, Parker Byington and his family bought a dairy farm simply south of Lewiston, moved from Washington state and started milking cows.

Today, Byington is likely to keep Winona County and milk cows elsewhere. The reason why: Winona County's cap of 1 1,500 animal models per feedlot, or approximately 1,071 dairy cows.

"That’s driving business out of the county," he said.

After moving to Winona County in 2016, Byington said he's stood by and watched as the county's Plank of Adjustments and Table of Commissioners been employed by with environmental groups to avoid the growth of the Daley Farm dairy located a few miles away. That project has experienced its working day in court on multiple occasion.

Actually, Byington approached the county with plans to expand to up to 998 animal units by himself farm, which could have expanded his unique milking herd from 600 heifers - he also offers another feedlot site with 50 dry cows - to about 712 cows, but native opposition to his plan gave him second thoughts.

And if he wished to grow beyond that size later on, Byington said the economics for working with the regulations from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency means having to expand to at the least 2,000 cows, but a more likely concentrate on of 2,500. That, he said, is lots well beyond the county's apparently impenetrable animal product cap.

"We wished to raise our children on the dairy farm," Byington said. "We have a large amount of pride in looking after our cows."

Now, those children and any specific cows he raises might be achieved outside Winona County.

Perfect place for dairy
Kevin Paap, president of the Minnesota Farm Bureau, said that with its rolling hills, and adequate space for growing hay and alfalfa, Winona County is simply perfect for dairy farming. On the other hand, the county's animal product cap is driving business elsewhere.

"There was no scientific analysis as to why," Ward said. "Nothing about how precisely many acres there have been for manure or just how much water a feedlot needs. For me, we need to analysis it, and we have to use modern agricultural procedures. "

Winona County's loss
While Byington programs to have his herd with him when he techniques, another dairy farmer will purchase his procedure. Mitch Thompson, who milks about 300 cows only up the road, said he plans to buy Byington's farm thus he can have two feedlots and increase within the rules of Winona County. Though in the beginning, he'll not milk as much cows at Byington's farm, so there will be a net lack of about 300 dairy cows in Winona County.

According to the most recent Comprehensive Overview of Iowa’s Dairy Industry, each dairy cow is worth about $25,000 in financial activity, meaning those 300 cows departing Winona County will cost $7.5 million to the county's economy.

Of course, the animal unit cap doesn't merely connect with dairy cows. Hogs, turkeys, chickens and beef cows all own their personal animal unit equivalence.

For Lewiston's Chris Sauer, that animal unit cap, in places since 1998, has recently pushed him have his business elsewhere.

One of his agriculture businesses is hog farming. In 2005, Sauer decided when he wanted to grow his hog businesses in Illinois and other areas of Southeast Minnesota. Actually, he said, he purchased a new blog in Olmsted County on Mon where he programs to increase his hog business.

"Winona County isn't friendly to livestock agriculture," Sauer explained. "Olmsted County possesses been a lot more friendly."

Sauer was the main committee that place the animal unit cap. He agreed with Ward that there surely is "no research behind it."

"The development ag side wanted 3,000 (AUs), and the special interests wanted 300," he said. "We compromised at 1,500."

Sauer said if the particular interests had won out and place a feedlot cap at 300 AU, there would be no one left raising animals in Winona County.

"We've tried to bring it back to the commissioners, but they won’t even consider it," he said.

The county board's refusal, he said, isn't reasonable. "How many businesses are locked into the same way they worked in 1998? The economics have changed since then."

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