Over the past two years, George Flotre has worked with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Security Agency and others to ensure that his intensive livestock operation meets the requirements of the Agricultural Operations Act. As part of the plans for his facility, he constructed three holding ponds to capture the run-off from his corrals and to keep them from accumulating excess moisture. Here, he outlines his experience so far.
On why he decided to seek approval
The traffic here is getting quite extensive, and I don’t want anyone unfamiliar with the industry telling me how many cows I can or can’t have. I didn’t know where the facility was physically going before we started the process, but I thought I’d better be on the ball. Especially since more and more people may not fully understand what we do on our operation. We’ve always been predominately an agricultural rural municipality (RM), but we’re just seeing more and more development all the time.
On the process
It was absolutely easy, I have to admit. Once we knew where we wanted to put the facilities, the Ministry’s regional engineer drew everything up. I really didn’t have to do anything. They were my plans, but it was totally easy. There was really good communication back and forth; we all had to work together. It worked out really, really well. I had a really good crew to work with.
On whether it’s been beneficial
Absolutely. There wasn’t a day last spring that I couldn’t get a two-wheel drive tractor in there. This fall we’ve been so wet again, but the ponds are collecting the excess water. We’ve cleaned the corrals and we’ve stockpiled the manure in the pens. Setting up a feed alley worked awesome; all spring, the cows were on relatively dry ground.
On the response from residents in the area
We’re 15 miles from Long Lake, but we don’t get a whole lot of traffic; we’re kind of hidden a little bit. So when the RM put out the call in the local paper, they did get a few calls. No-one was against it, though. That will probably come, but I don’t know if it’ll be soon. My approval is transferable with the sale of the operation, so if we sell, the intensive livestock operation and its approval will stay.
On why other livestock producers should seek approval
There could be changes in expectations or regulations in the future; this is a way that you can get ahead of it. It allows you to do what you want to do or what you think you might have to do. I would say that if anyone has an inkling, they should contact the Ministry. It’s better for the environment, your farm and the industry.
For more information about the Agricultural Operations Act, visit the Regulation of Intensive Livestock Operations in Saskatchewan page or contact the Agricultural Operations Unit at 306-787-4680.