Producers Call for Scientific Approach on Water Issues

CANADA - Manitoba's pork producers are calling on the provincial government to adopt a science based approach to efforts to curb water quality problems on lake Winnipeg, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 19 August 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

In 2006, as part of its effort to reduce the amount of phosphorus ending up in Lake Winnipeg, the Manitoba government imposed a temporary moratorium on new hog barn construction or expansion across much of the province which was made permanent in 2008.

Manitoba Pork Council Chair, Karl Kynoch, says the ban has dramatically reduced the equity of pork producers in the affected area but done nothing to improve water quality.

Karl Kynoch – Manitoba Pork Council:

Even if they can justify being able expand and even if they have adequate land base to expand and make that land more valuable by adding a nutrient it has prevented them from doing that.

Another concern is we have some very viable packing plants in the province and, when you put a moratorium on like this without any science to back it, it also starts to restrict their access to hogs and might down the road make them unviable so there's a lot of concerns there to producers.

The interesting thing is that this ban was put on in 2006 and made permanent in 2008 for the hog industry, we've heard some reports on the radio lately coming from researchers and that that in fact Lake Winnipeg is at the worst it has been in ten years for algae blooms and this type of thing.

The other thing that's interesting when you talk to some of the old timers, the people that used to fish on that lake 60 years ago, they say there was algae blooms then that were so thick they couldn't paddle a canoe through.

Now we're seeing an increase in algae blooms at a time when there's a moratorium on the hog industry so I would say the ban on the hog industry has really done nothing for lake Winnipeg and that's a concern.

The fact that legislation was implemented without any science to back it and has now hurt producers but yet has not helped the lake.

Mr Kynoch suggests that if a pork producer can show he has an adequate land base to accommodate manure application, he should be allowed to expand or modify his operation to maintain its viability.

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