Permit denial disappoints Osakis farmer in Minnesota

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Source: Alexandria Echo Press

As a fifth generation farmer, Orry Trisco was more than disappointed when Douglas County commissioners denied a conditional use permit that would have allowed him to expand the farm he owns with his father, Steven Trisco.

The family farm in Osakis township, north of Osakis at the intersection of Bird Lake Road NE and County Road 3, has been in the Trisco family for more than a century.

Orry Trisco wanted to expand the dairy and beef farm to include swine – 2,400 pigs ranging in size from 55 to 300 pounds. His hope is to pass the farm on to his son, making it a six-generation farm.

“We just want to keep the family farm going. I don’t know why it didn’t pass,” Trisco said of the permit. “The plans were perfect, but the neighbors don’t like us.”

Had the permit been approved, Trisco believes it would have been the only swine farm of its size in Douglas County. He said there is at least one that he knows of near Brandon that has about 500 pigs and maybe a couple of other smaller farms.

The Triscos have been planning for about a year and a half to make sure everything was perfect and that the expansion met every rule, regulation and condition from the city, county and state.

“It was an existing feedlot,” he said. “It shouldn’t have been denied.”

Trisco said he believes the commissioners were more worried about being re-elected than anything else.

The father-son duo were modeling their swine feedlot after farms in Rice (near St. Cloud), where Trisco said it seems there are hog farms every four miles.

A company that works with hog farmers was working with the Triscos. If the permit had been approved, Orry Trisco would have been that company’s 208th farmer, he said.

He noted that the plans didn’t include breeding hogs. They would have just been raising them.

He is unsure what the next steps are for him and his father. The piece of land they were going to put the expansion on was their only option. Trisco also said he is unsure whether they will appeal the decision.

Background

At a Feb. 25 meeting, the five-member Douglas County Planning Advisory Commission made a recommendation to approve the permit to the Douglas County Board by a vote of 4-1. Tim Kalina, who is also a Douglas County commissioner, voted against it, with Brian Niehoff, Les Zimmerman, Dan New and Jerry Johnson voting for it.

On March 3, at the Douglas County Board of Commissioners meeting, the permit was denied by a vote of 5-0. Commissioner Jerry Rapp made the motion to deny the permit, saying it was based on the location not being compatible with the neighborhood. Commissioner Heather Larson seconded the motion.

Both meetings were well attended by those who were against the farm expanding. At the Feb. 25 planning commission meeting, numerous people spoke out against the addition of pigs to the Trisco farm. Water quality, manure spreading, disease, health issues and air quality were some of the main concerns.

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