Citizens File Legal Challenge After Goodhue County Commissioners Grant Permit to Factory Farm that Violates County Ordinance

Permit is Suspended Until Minnesota Court of Appeals Issues Ruling

RED WING, Minn. — Goodhue County Commissioners voted today to grant a Conditional Use Permit for a controversial factory hog farm proposed in Goodhue County’s Zumbrota Township. Neighbors to the proposal have documented how it does not meet the standards of the Goodhue County Ordinance. They called on the commissioners to follow the ordinance and deny the permit. After the vote, citizens announced that today, they are filing a legal challenge to the commissioners’ decision with the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The Conditional Use Permit is suspended until the court issues a ruling.

“It was clear to us that our commissioners weren’t listening, and that they didn’t plan to follow the rules,” said Zumbrota Township resident Sharon Pagel. “We were prepared to send this to the Court of Appeals to demand that our commissioners follow our ordinance.”

The Kohlnhofers are proposing a factory farm with 4,700 hogs and a 3.5-million-gallon liquid manure pit in Zumbrota Township. The proposal does not comply with the Goodhue County Zoning Ordinance in the following ways:

• A complete site map is missing from the permit application.

• Required manure spreading agreements, signed by all landowners, are missing and incomplete.

• According to a University of Minnesota official, the odor model was run incorrectly. When it's run correctly, the proposal does not meet the county's setback standards.

• The project will negatively impact nearby property values in violation of the county ordinance.

• The proposed feedlot is proposed in a high-risk karst area and will be a pollution hazard.

A more detailed analysis of why the Conditional Use Permit application violates the Goodhue County Zoning can be found here.

“It’s unacceptable for the Goodhue County Board to push through a factory farm permit that violates our ordinance,” said Zumbrota Township farmer Dale Post. “The rules in our ordinance are clear. We’re sending this to the Court of Appeals so that they can make a fair, fact-based decision.”