Supreme Beef sent back to the drawing board

SUPREME BEEF withdraws flawed nutrient management plan

Supreme Beef has withdrawn its latest nutrient management plan.  They are expected to submit a revised nutrient management plan which will be followed by a public comment period.  In the meantime, Supreme Beef has been ordered by the Department of Natural Resources that they cannot empty any of their manure containment structures until they have an approved nutrient management plan. 

Supreme Beef LLC is beef cattle feeding operation in Clayton County, housing 11,600 animals.  It operates as an open feedlot because the animals are housed in an unroofed or partially roofed area. DNR regulations say that if the animals are housed in a building that is at least 10% unroofed, it is an open feedlot. In the case of Supreme Beef, the 10% unroofed portion is the feed bunk. So the animals stick their heads out of the buildings to eat.  The cattle never leave the buildings to go outdoors.


Supreme Beef sits near the headwaters of Bloody Run Creek, one of the most treasured trout streams in Iowa.  It is also designated as an Outstanding Iowa Water.

After the Department of Natural Resources approved a flawed nutrient management plan, the Sierra Club and Trout Unlimited successfully appealed the decision to Polk County court.  A Polk County District Court judge ruled that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) improperly approved that version of Supreme Beef’s nutrient management plan.  The nutrient management plan is a document that lays out the amount of manure that can be applied to crop fields and identifies those fields, so that the manure can be used by the crops and will not run off the fields into water bodies.

The DNR told Supreme Beef that they must submit a new plan.  Until that plan has been approved, Supreme Beef is not authorized to empty any of its manure storage structures.  That plan was also flawed.  After a public hearing where Sierra Club and others questioned the permit, Supreme Beef decided to withdraw the permit.

Sierra Club will continue to watch Supreme Beef and its future applications.

Below, photo of Bloody Run Creek by Larry Stone.

Bloody Run Creek trout fisherman, Clayton County, iowa