Farming finances can be tight, especially when it comes to property acquisition. The Goodhue County Board took action Tuesday that may make it easier for one area family to sell their homestead and hog operation.
Edward and Tammy Fletcher requested a conditional-use permit to allow their existing rural Kenyon feedlot of 450 swine to be split from the farmyard and house, creating a feedlot outside of a farmyard. Their farm is located in Section 33 of Holden Township.
The four-member board granted approval, in addition to approving two other feedlot CUP requests.
Lisa Hanni, the county's land-use manager, explained to the board that it can be difficult to sell a lot that contains both a house and a feedlot.
"It's, you know, unfortunate but banking has really determined a lot of our zoning. People can't get a reasonable mortgage on any property that has a dwelling and feedlots on it so that is why they are splitting it," she said.
Tammy Fletcher echoed this, stating that she and her husband have been trying to sell this property since last fall. There have been young families interested in the property, but they can't afford it due to the mortgage rates.
When the county's Planning Commission considered this CUP, the vote was 6-3 to deny the applicant's request due to the Fletchers not having a variance that would allow the feedlot to be split from the home. A variance was later granted on May 20.
Commissioner Barney Nesseth, who represents the district in which the property is located, reported that there was some concern from Holden Township because individuals want feedlots to be part of the farmstead.
Barbara St. John, the town clerk, explained that the township left the decision to the county. In her comments on the application, she noted: "Holden Township Board feels any variance of CUP request will be the responsibility of the new owner."
Though this CUP means that the two properties could be owned by two parties, Fletcher told the board that everyone she has talked to is interested in buying both the dwelling and farmyard and the feedlot. This may change, but there are incentives for potential and future buyers to possess both properties.
"For instance," Fletcher said, "the well is on the farmyard property. The hog barns can't operate without the well."
After approving the permit request, the board also approved a CUP for an estimated 300 animal unit expansion of an existing 444 unit beef cattle feedlot and the construction of an animal waste storage pit in Vasa Township.
The third CUP, to establish a hog finishing feedlot for up to 720 animals and an animal waste storage pit in Pine Island Township, also passed.