Citizen-led Monitoring Shows High Levels of Hydrogen Sulfide Emissions at Kohlnhofer Factory Farms in Goodhue County

Citizens Deliver Report to Kohlnhofer Insurance Agency & Call for Immediate Action from State Environmental & Health Officials

LAKEVILLE, Minn. — Farmers and rural residents of southeastern Minnesota’s Zumbrota Township today released a report entitled, “A Community at Risk: A Report on Citizens’ Hydrogen Sulfide Monitoring at Kohlnhofer Factory Hog Farms in Goodhue County, Minn.” After the release of the report, citizens delivered a copy to Jeff Kohlnhofer, co-owner of Circle K Farms and vice-president of Kohlnhofer Insurance Agency, Inc., in Lakeville, and called for immediate action from state environmental and health officials.

The report is the result of a five-week study this summer in which citizens monitored hydrogen sulfide emissions at the property boundaries of six Kohlnhofer hog facilities in Goodhue County. The results show that the Kohlnhofers are likely exceeding health risk values set by the Minnesota Department of Health at four of their six facilities, and two facilities may be violating state ambient air quality standards, set by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Because the report reveals that the Kohlnhofers’ existing hog operations may be violating state standards, citizens called for the Kohlnhofers to withdraw their proposal for a new 4,700-hog operation in Goodhue County’s Zumbrota Township.

“We will not let the Kohlnhofers put our farms, our families, or our community in jeopardy,” said Zumbrota Township farmer Dale Post, who lives three-quarters of a mile from the proposed facility. “We’re calling for the Kohlnhofers to withdraw their Zumbrota Township proposal. Our community’s health is at risk.”

Hydrogen sulfide is a poisonous gas emitted when large amounts of liquid manure are collected in one place. It has proven negative health impacts, such as nausea, headaches, vomiting and severe diarrhea. Prolonged exposure has been associated with neurologic symptoms, which may be more serious in children.

Post is especially concerned about polluted air in Zumbrota Township, as his granddaughter, Raina, suffers from a rare genetic disorder known as CDKL5. Raina relies on clean, fresh air, and high hydrogen sulfide levels would greatly complicate her condition.

“Raina’s genetic footprint in this township goes back 134 years,” said Post. “Why should she be the one who has to leave?”

Citizens also urged the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to immediately begin continuous air quality monitoring at existing Kohlnhofer factory farms to investigate the extent of hydrogen sulfide exceedances.

“We met with the Governor’s office and the MPCA’s Assistant Commissioner this week to discuss our findings,” said Zumbrota Township resident Kristi Rosenquist. “They take our data very seriously. We’re calling on them to take action to protect public health.”

A copy of the report, “A Community at Risk: A Report on Citizens’ Hydrogen Sulfide Monitoring at Kohlnhofer Factory Hog Farms in Goodhue County, Minn.,” is available here.