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The hubbub between a local feedlot and its residential neighbors has subsided in the past month.
Larimer County Planning Director Linda Hoffmann said she has not received any complaint calls in the last several weeks about the agricultural operation.
“Possibly we’ve turned the corner here,” added Larimer County Commissioner Tom Donnelly.
In a public hearing June 27, the commissioners ruled that Mountain View Feeder on North Taft Hill Road was not in violation of the land use code. However, they agreed with neighbors that the odor problem needed to be addressed.
The feedlot’s owner, Russell Schaefer, said he is planning some new approaches in an effort to reduce odors. The company will try using different feeds and will reduce the number of cattle in the summer months. In addition, Schaefer said, he will reduce the number of large animals in the feedlot and keep smaller calves instead.
In late July, Jon Slutsky of the Larimer County Agricultural Advisory Board and Dr. Shawn Archibeque of Colorado State University visited the feedlot and were impressed with the cleanliness of the operation. Both commented that greater-than-usual precipitation earlier this year likely contributed to the odor problem.
Archibeque said that Schaefer had “a pretty good grasp of the issues.” He submitted a report to the county commissioners in which he outlined “minor ideas” for improvement. His suggestions included feeding cracked corn instead of whole to aid with digestion, covering silage pits with plastic, and moving bulls further away from neighbors.
According to the report, Schaefer has been using runoff liquid to mitigate dust emissions. Archibeque recommended that this should be done when there is minimal wind or when the prevailing winds are away from neighbors.
When Archibeque visited the facility in late July he found one pen that was not adequately drained. However, he noted that Schaefer was in the process of having a drainage system installed to take care of that issue.