Massive turkey operation proposed

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Farm Forum

Grassland Colony wants to build an 80,000-turkey confinement operation in McPherson County.

It would be 1 mile west and 3 miles north of Hosmer, according to a permit application on the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources website.

The operation permit was submitted by George Waldner Jr. of Westport, with the business name Boulder Farms Turkey Confinement.

Kent Woodmansey, feed lot permit manager for DENR, said no permits have yet been approved for the Hutterite colony.

Waldner could not be reached for comment.

“After its public notice, there is a 30-day comment period, and any comments can be received through (the DENR) website,” Woodmansey said. “At the end of the public comment period, we’ll respond to those comments, then we’ll approve or deny the permit application.”

The deadline for public notice comments is May 28.

Representatives from the colony met with the McPherson County Planning and Zoning Board two months ago to discuss the proposal.

“Basically, they were there to find out what they had to do,” said McPherson County Director of Equalization Susan Hoffman.

“They hadn’t applied for permits or anything at that time. Since then, they’ve applied for permits from the state for nutrients and manure management,” she said.

The permit application includes plans for a manure management waste system consisting of three barns and a stockpiling area with an attached holding pond. Eventually, the manure would be applied to fields in McPherson and Edmunds counties, according to the application.

Hoffman said that there has been some opposition to the plan.

“The neighbors were concerned as far as the smell and the closeness to their property,” she said.

In an attempt to minimize odors, one step is already being enacted.

Alvin Kallas, a Planning and zoning board member, said, “We have to plant trees out there, so (this) week we’ll be going out for that.”

Hoffman said the trees will cut down on the odors and wind as well as provide shade.

No other work has been done on the proposed turkey operation.

“They haven’t started anything. I believe they wanted to wait until they had the permits,” Hoffman said. “The way it sounded, they were going to start simple and then gradually, as things go along, they wanted to add other things to it.”

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