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Author(s): Duckworth, B.
Publication Date: January 1, 1997
Reference: The Western Producer. July 3, 1997. p. 64
Country: Canada

Summary:

The expansion in Alberta is becoming more difficult in some areas because of the high livestock concentration they present and the Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) syndrome developing. The communities and certain individuals consider the disadvantages ( mostly odours, and also bacterial contamination of water) of this expansion more important than the economical benefits the governments and the developers promote. The health and government officials conceded that expansion happened too rapidly and the education efforts on manure management was not sufficient and rapid enough to prepare well the farmers to the environmental consequences of such expansion. The County of Mountainview agriculture planning group (about 25 Central Alberta farmers) succeeded in stopping the PIC 4000 sow operation from building in their municipality. This group is presently working with the county to improve bylaws controlling these developments. They want expansion but not at any cost. Alberta’s code of practice for animal manure handling is the document municipalities rely on. However the group critics this code capacity in dealing with huge livestock operations. In Alberta and British Columbia, building and environmental regulations are focus on local approval as in Saskatchewan and Manitoba the control is provincial.
The President of Alberta Pig Co., Gary Shaw, advises strongly the developers to do their homework in the planning of intensive livestock units: to build far away from neighbors, to be well prepared doing more testing, having engineers’ reports, to plan for environmentally sustainable agriculture, to present the project to the municipalities and the communities. He says that all that is onerous but it is the new reality. The same planning advice are also given by Marvin Salomons of Alberta Agriculture.
Bernie Kotelko, president of the Alberta Cattle Feeders Ass. mentioned that the Alberta governement and the farm community is presently working on a strategic plan for intensive livestock expension. Fences disputes can even be a stopper for a developper’s project as the issues are not always rational.

The situation is becoming very complicated with all the NIMBY phenomenum and the fact the the reglementation is done at local levels. Education is very important in order to give all the possible tools to the farmers so they become more environmentally aware of their practices and can make changes and adopt new techniques. As for the opponent, efforts should be make to show them more situations where intensive livestock production has been succesfull and environmentally correct.

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