At its October 7, 2014, meeting, the Brookings County Planning and Zoning Commission approved a conditional-use permit for local dairy man Michael Crinion to build a 3,999-head dairy. According to the permit request, the dairy would take up the northeast quarter at the intersection of 197th Street and 482nd Avenue, one mile west of the Oak Lake Field Station and a few miles west of Lake Hendricks, which straddles the South Dakota–Minnesota border. The land is owned by Jeff Mersbergen, Chris Mersbergen, and LC Olson LLP. The dairy would have three manure storage ponds, each holding over 2.2 million cubic feet of manure. Crinion's application includes agreements with landowners to spread that manure in farm fields mostly to the west.
Mayor Jay Nelson of Hendricks, Minnesota, would rather not have all that manure so close:
"A farm with 2500 dairy cattle is similar in waste load to a city of 411,000 people." [EPA 2004] The proposed dairy upstream of Lake Hendricks would have 3999 cows. Applying this EPA statistic, this dairy could have the pollution equivalent to a city of 657,435 people. The environmental costs of this dairy will be paid by other property owners. Yet the Brookings County government did not send our city official notice of this proposed dairy prior to the Planning and Zoning board hearing. It did not send the Lake Hendricks Improvement Association official notice. It did not send the Oaklake township board official notice. It appears some adjoining land owners to this property were not notified of the hearing while others were given less than 24 hours notice [Jay Nelson, post to "Help Save Lake Hendricks" Facebook page, 2014.10.17].
Mayor Nelson invites interested citizens to meet at 8 a.m. this morning at Hendricks Park to convoy to the Brookings County Commission meeting, where Mayor Nelson's concerns about the dairy are the 9:45 agenda item.
Mayor Nelson might want to seek counsel from South Dakota Rep. Stace Nelson, who effectively organized opposition to a larger Crinion dairy proposed for his backyard near Fulton three years ago. That Hanson County project went down in part because county commissioners broke rules on the issuance and extension of conditional-use permits.