What Is a Feedlot?

A feedlot is an open lot or building intended for feeding, breeding, raising, or holding animals where manure may accumulate and vegetative cover cannot be maintained.  Manure storage structures are considered part of a feedlot, but pasture areas where vegetative cover is established are not considered part of a feedlot.  For zoning purposes, Waseca County requires existing sites and proposed new sites that will maintain 10 or more animal units, or a manure storage area capable of holding the manure produced by 10 or more animal units, to register as a feedlot and meet required setbacks.

Animal Units

Minnesota uses animal units (AU) to quantify the size of livestock feedlots. One animal unit is equivalent to the amount of manure produced by a 1,000-lb. steer.   Animal units are calculated by multiplying the number of animals by AU factors.  (E.g. 50 beef calves x 0.2 = 10 AU)

Below is a chart showing common AU factors:

animal units


Setbacks registered feedlots must meet are as follows:

  • Property Line = 80ft
  • Public Roads: From centerline of road = 300ft
  • Rivers, Streams, and Drainage Ditches = 300ft
  • Lakes = 1,000ft
  • Wetlands = 300ft
  • Existing Feedlots (Under Separate Ownership) = 500ft
  • Residences (Other than Owner/Applicant) = 1,000ft
  • Parks = 1,000ft
  • Churches = 1,000ft
  • Cemeteries = 500ft
  • Golf Courses (Private or Public) = 500ft
  • Incorporated Municipality = 2,640ft
  • Airport (FAA Approved) = 2,640ft
  • Wells (1-300 Animal Unit Feedlot) = 50ft
  • Wells (>300 Animal Unit Feedlot) = 100ft

Please contact the Waseca County Feedlot Officer with any livestock, animal unit, or feedlot questions:

2022 MPCA County Feedlot Financial Report

2022 Waseca Annual CFO report

Brian Zabel—Agriculture & Ditches Coordinator—507-835-0652— brian.zabel@wasecacounty.gov