Testing the water

Livestock Siting Overview

State law sets forth many requirements for choosing a site for a new livestock barn. These requirements include setbacks from residences, churches, schools, businesses and public use areas, including cemeteries. Some of the water quality requirements include a soils and bedrock depth investigation, tile line exploration, and setbacks from streams, rivers, designated wetlands, and wells. Most of these requirements also apply to the growth of an existing farm.

County governments have a role in the state decision-making process on a new construction permit for a livestock barn. Counties have a choice of how and whether they participate in the state review process, including a choice of whether or not to adopt a “construction evaluation resolution” (master matrix) each year. 

County responsibility

A county board of supervisors may participate in the state review process regardless of whether it decides to adopt a “construction evaluation resolution.” County supervisors are required to acknowledge receipt of a copy of the construction permit application by signing the county verification form. The county board of supervisors may designate someone to accept copies of permit applications, and usually the county auditor, zoning administrator or sanitarian is designated. After receipt of the application, counties are required to publish notice in a local newspaper of general circulation in the county. The notice is to include the following provisions: 
  • The name of the person applying to receive the construction permit
  • The name of the township where the confinement feeding operation...