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After fire in 2020, southwest Minnesota colony adding 9,600 head hog finishing barns

Heartland Hutterian Brethren Inc. in Pipestone County has filed for a permit with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for the 9,600 head hog finishing facility in Pipestone County.

Pink feeder pigs are in a barn with slatted floors.
A Hutterite colony in southwest Minnesota plans to expand their hog feeding capacity.
Erin Ehnle Brown / Grand Vale Creative LLC
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LAKE BENTON, Minnesota — A Hutterite community in southwest Minnesota plans to build a hog feedlot as it recovers from a 2020 fire that killed thousands of pigs.

Heartland Hutterian Brethren Inc. in Pipestone County has filed for a permit with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for the 9,600 head hog finishing facility in Pipestone County.

Jerry Wipf, minister and president of the Heartland Hutterite Colony, said they hope to have the barn up and running in September.

One 4,800 head barn will be built this year and another 4,800 barn is planned for 2023.

After the barns are built, the colony will go from marketing about 20,000 hogs per year to about 30,000. It sends hogs to meat packing plants in Sioux City, Iowa, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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The Heartland Colony was hit by a barn fire on Aug. 7, 2020, that killed about 4,000 pigs.

The new barn is not on the same site as the barn that burned, though there is the possibility that a barn could go at that site in the future.

“If we do, it will be a nursery,” Wipf said.

The Heartland Colony, with over 90 members, also raises beef and turkey. The colony has its own feed mill and supplies some of its own grain but also buys about 100,000 bushels of corn each year.

The barn that burned also was used for as a nursery through finishing; the colony is out of the farrowing business for now.

Wipf said an exact cause of the fire was not determined, but he was told by investigators that it likely started from a motor, fan or lighting.

The colony was established in 1996 with members coming from Ipswich, South Dakota.

Reach Jeff Beach at jbeach@agweek.com or call 701-451-5651 (work) or 859-420-1177.
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