Manitoba Moratorium on Swine Barn Expansion Expected to Hurt Small Family Farms

CANADA - Manitoba Pork Council warns permanent regional moratoriums on swine barn expansion being imposed by the Manitoba government will have their most devastating impact on small family farms, Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 7 March 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Following the release of the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission's final report on the environmental sustainability of the province's swine industry the provincial government announced it will impose permanent moratoriums on swine barn expansion in southeastern Manitoba, in the Red River Valley including the Capital Region and in the Interlake.

Manitoba Pork Council chairman Karl Kynoch says imposing a permanent moratorium will hurt the value of existing farms in the affected area, especially small family farms, and may end any opportunity to attract a new processing plant to the province.

Karl Kynoch-Manitoba Pork Council

We were expecting, after the public consultations that went around, that it didn't seem to be too many huge issues there, that it would be a fairly neutral report.

We have some concerns with the CEC report but what just blew us out of the water was the fact that the government went outside of the report and implemented a permanent moratorium on the eastern side of the province.

We figure this will affect at least two thirds of the production as most of the production is on that side of the province.

But our big concern is going to be the devaluation in buildings.

A lot of small farms now just won't have much opportunity for the future.

If they are a small farm and they were wanting to expand the operation just to make it viable or they wanted to bring a family member into that operation to make it viable and they needed to enlarge it they don't have that opportunity anymore so there's going to be a lot of hard decisions made especially on some of the small family farms whether to continue on or whether to shut the operation down.

Kynoch believes singling out the hog industry, which accounts for about 1.5 percent of the phosphorus runoff ending up in Lake Winnipeg, and imposing a moratorium on it is the wrong way to go, especially when farmers will still be allowed to use chemical fertilizer.

He notes swine manure contains a wider range of nutrients needed by crops and the moratorium will limit access to that source of crop nutrients at a time when farmers are looking for every opportunity to reduce input costs.

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