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Zoning for Animal Agriculture

For a summary of livestock zoning rules for specific zoning districts,  see the links under Also in this Section.

To determine your zoning district, see Zoning Map of Douglas County under Resources.

The following is an excerpt from the Douglas County Ordinance as it applies to feedlots. All Douglas County feedlots must follow these rules in addition to the MN Chapter 7020 rules.

Policy and Intent

An adequate supply of healthy livestock, poultry and other animals is an essential component to the well being of Douglas County citizens and the entire State of Minnesota. These domesticated animals provide us with a daily source of meat, milk, eggs and fiber. The efficient, economic and healthy production of these animals must be a concern to all consumers if we are to have a continued abundance of high quality, wholesome food and fiber at reasonable prices.

These regulations have been promulgated to reduce risk of pollution of our natural resources from feedlots.

These regulations address production sites. These regulations comply with the policy and purpose of the State of Minnesota statutes and rules regarding control of pollution. The goals of these regulations are to address economic and environmental needs as they specifically relate to necessary regulation of animal feedlots and to optimize the general welfare of the citizens of Douglas County.


The provisions of these regulations shall apply to all animal feedlots in Douglas County.

Existing Feedlot Standards

a. Existing feedlots are exempt from the setback requirements listed in Table 1 of this section, Existing feedlots must follow all other provisions of the Douglas County Zoning Ordinance.

(1.) Expansions of feedlots located within the shoreland are prohibited.

New Feedlot Requirements

a. A Certificate of Compliance and a Conditional Use Permit shall be required by Douglas County for all feedlots over 50 animal units regardless of location.

b. All feedlot related Certificate of Compliance and Conditional Use applications shall include the following information:

(1.) A map or aerial photo showing the dimensions of the feedlot, showing all existing homes, buildings, lakes, ponds, water courses, wetlands, roads, wells, contour and surface water drainage within 1,000 feet of the feedlot.

(2.) A description of the geological conditions, soil types and seasonal high water table located within 1,000 feet of the feedlot.

(3.) A plan indicating operational procedure, the location and specifics of proposed animal waste facilities and the quantity and type of effluent to be discharged from the site.

(4.) A plan for disposal of dead animals consistent with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health Regulations.

(5.) Verification that the proposed operation is in compliance with, or is in the actual process of coming into compliance with, all Minnesota Pollution Control Agency requirements.

(6.) Any other information deemed necessary by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Director of Land and Resource Management department, Planning Advisory Commission, NRCS, Department of Natural Resources or other agency.

c. New feedlots located within the shoreland are prohibited.

d. The following shall be the minimum setback requirements for new animal feedlots.


Feedlot Setbacks and Separations

a. No residential dwellings, not owned by a family member or employee of the feedlot operation, shall be built or placed within 1000 feet of a Tier 1 or Tier 2 feedlot or within 2 mile of a Tier 3 feedlot. Notwithstanding issues of ownership, no more than two residential dwellings shall be built or placed within 1000 feet of a Tier 1 or Tier 2 feedlot or within 2 mile of a Tier 3 feedlot.

Animal Waste Storage Facilities

a. Animal Liquid Waste Storage Facilities.

(1.) All new liquid manure holding structures for animal waste shall have a minimum storage capacity of thirteen months and shall meet the minimum construction standards required by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. All of these structures shall be in compliance with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency requirements.

b. Animal Waste Earthen Storage Basins.
(1.) In addition to any other requirements imposed by the law, all animal waste earthen storage basins and lagoons shall be in compliance with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency requirements. All plans for earthen storage basins and lagoons shall be prepared and approved by a registered professional engineer or NRCS job authority.

Manure Transportation

The owner or operator of an animal feedlot who spills manure on a public road shall be responsible for cleaning the roadway as soon as practical after a spill to ensure the safe passage of traffic. If the owner or operator of a feedlot does not clean the roadway in a timely manner, the County’s Public Works Department may clean the roadway with their own equipment and assess the owner or operator for their services. If the assessment is not paid, the County Board may certify to the County Auditor by November 30 all unpaid, outstanding assessments and a description of the lands against which the assessment arose. It shall be the duty of the County Auditor, upon order of the County Board, to extend the assessments with interest not to exceed the interest rate provided for in Minnesota Statutes, Section 279.03, Subd. 1 or successor statutes, upon the tax roles of the County for the taxes of the year in which the assessment is filed, into the tax becoming due and payable in January of the following year, and shall be enforced and collected in the manner provided for the enforcement and collection of real and/or personal property taxes in accordance with the provisions of the laws of the State of Minnesota. The assessment, if not paid, shall become delinquent and be subject to the same penalties and the same rate of interest as the taxes under the general laws of the State of Minnesota.

Feedlot Closure

The landowner, owner and operator of any feedlot shall be responsible for the ongoing management of manure and the final closure of the feedlot including the cleaning of buildings and the emptying and proper disposal of manure from all manure storage structures.

The closure plan shall be completed in accordance with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Guidelines for Closure.

Landowners, individual feedlot owners or operators or other business entities controlling, taking part in or sharing in the profits from a feedlot will be liable for clean up costs if the closure provisions of this ordinance are not complied with.


Owners and operators of feedlots shall have joint liability for clean-up, closure or remediation of abandoned feedlot sites.

Clean up costs after abandonment, if not otherwise paid, shall be assessed to the fee title holder.