Philip Livestock Auction increases capacity

Expansion project complete ... Three new feedlot areas now exist alongside the Philip Livestock Auction sales barn area. The gravel roads, concrete berms, electricity and water are all put in and being used. The sale barn will continue to use its temporary holding capacity of 8,000 head, while the feedlots will increase that capacity by approximately 2,000 head, possibly year round.

The Philip Livestock Auction has expanded its livestock holding capability to approximately 2,000 head in its feedlot area, while allowing its barn area capability to still hold 8,000 head.

The construction aspect of the expansion project began around the middle of August, 2010. A gravel road running north and south was put in just north of the original cattle pens. That road was completed the middle of October. Three feed bunks were then put in, one to the west of the road and two east of the road. Water and electricity were put in as well.

Thor Roseth, owner/operator of the feed and sales lot, stressed that the concrete, gates and other materials were purchased locally, and that the labor involved in the project was also local. "A local project that hopefully helps local people," said Roseth. "It's done. It complements the sale barn nicely. It just made sense we would expand the numbers. The land was already in the containment area, thus developing the land we had," said Roseth. "The expansion is full to capacity right now with customers' cattle."

Philip Livestock Auction had published its notice of intent back in November 2010 that it had applied with the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources for expanding an animal feeding operation. The initial approval had been given in December, 2010. Roseth had not received the final permits until January 2011.

The notice stated, "The animal feeding operation consists of an existing livestock auction market located along the east side of the city of Philip .... The livestock auction market is currently permitted a maximum of 8,000 cattle per sale and 300 horses per sale with a truck wash. The expansion will consist of the addition of 2,000 head of beef cattle in the existing open lots for a period of 365 days a year. There will not be any changes to the existing manure management system and two fields are being added to the existing nutrient management plan."

During a Haakon County Commission meeting, Roseth addressed issues concerning the water containment system, and fly and dust control. The animals would be in the pens only during the winter months. This is when odors are at their lowest, and the animals are fed a high roughage diet which also helps keep down odors. Flies would also be a non-issue during the winter months.

Back in June, when the project was still underway, Roseth said that the current capacity was temporary for sale days. "This expansion has changed the dynamics of PLA to hold cattle year-round. Full-time capacity was nil, now we can hold 2,000 head. The temporary maximum was 8,000, now it is that plus 2,000."

Roseth continued his earlier June comments, "For reasons of putting the expansion in, with the increase of the amount of feed being raised around the Philip area and the high quality of cattle we find here, it makes sense to keep them in the area and, in a sense, increase the value locally. The increased capacity should make for an increased demand for both the cattle and the feed."

The PLA's busiest months are October and November. Recently, it included five weeks of Wednesday sales on top of its usual Tuesday sales. There were even some sales done on Saturdays. "We are constantly increasing our labor force to keep up with the sales," said Roseth.