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Livestock farms will need permits for water usage

Editor’s note: The following was submitted by Todd County Soil, Water and Conservation District.

Concerned for the availability of fresh water for future domestic consumption, forward thinking state hydrologists are focusing on water permitting for livestock farms across Minnesota.

Indicators suggest the withdrawal of water by livestock farms does factor into the overall water depletion equation.

Within the next month or so, further information will be released pertaining to the reporting and permitting requirements of water usage by livestock farms.

Currently, farms using less than 10,000 gallons a day or 1 million gallons annually are not required to obtain a permit.

Farms using more than the allowable standard but less than 5 million gallons annually can obtain a “general” water permit from the DNR for a onetime fee of $100.

A farm using more than 5 million gallons annually must apply for an “individual” permit with a fee of $15.

All livestock farms using more than 1 million gallons annually will be required to report yearly water consumption, a new requirement of the water appropriation law.

Water consumption varies by species, age, diet, management, and seasonal needs of the animals. University of Minnesota guidelines suggest that an average farm milking 90 head of mature dairy cows may exceed the withdrawal standards of 1 million gallons per year. A farm milking 450 dairy cattle may exceed a consumption of 5 million gallons of water annually. Water consumption by all livestock species on the farm factors into the total annual consumption.

Municipalities and irrigation remain the biggest drawers of Minnesota’s groundwater.

If you any have questions or concerns, call Todd County Livestock Advisor at (320) 732-2644.