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A Science Based Approach Needed to Address Nutrient Loading

by 5m Editor
20 March 2008, at 12:16pm

CANADA - Keystone Agricultural Producers is urging the Manitoba government to abandon its recently imposed moratoriums on swine barn expansion and adopt a science based approach to dealing with nutrient loading, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Following the release of the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission report on the environmental sustainability of the hog industry, the province imposed moratoriums on new or expanded hog barn construction in three regions.

Keystone Agricultural Producers, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce and Manitoba Pork Council are partnering in an effort to have that decision reversed.

Although the CEC recommendations deal with nutrient management for all livestock industries, only the hog industry has been targeted with moratoriums.

KAP president Ian Wishart suggests existing regulations along with changes recommended by the CEC are adequate ensure the environment is protected.

Ian Wishart-Keystone Agricultural Producers

There is certainly a case for a few small regions in the province where there's been so much development already that there's actually more nutrients in that particular region than there is acres to deal with it and we looked at some specific recommendations to that, nutrient exporting and dealing with de-watering and that type of thing that the Clean Environment Commission did touch on.

Those areas are maybe a little unique but, by far, the vast majority of the province could deal with this on a site specific basis and, in fact, under the proposed regulations that are coming down from Water Stewardship on prosperous guidelines will be dealing with it on a site specific basis and managing both prosperous and nitrogen and showing the numbers to do that.

Certainly if you can't show your ability to manage those nutrients on your own operation or on land that you have spread agreements on, grain crop land in particular, you won't get permission to expand.


Wishart suggests singling out hog industry for restrictions on development but not other industries raises questions about the science behind the action.

He says you can generally explain a science based approach to farmers and get good cooperation but, if it's not science based it's pretty hard to get farmers to act and there's real science to support this specific ban.

5m Editor