One Producers Experience
When Don Bowyer took over his father’s cattle operation in the late 1980s, the ranch was a fair size smaller than it is now. Over the past 20 years, Bowyer has diversified the operation into custom feeding his and others’ cattle. This level of expansion, and its potential to impact nearby water sources, prompted him to seek approval to operate under The Agricultural Operations Act. Below, he discusses his experience with the approval process.
On why he decided to seek approval
After taking an environmental farm course and wanting to expand, we decided that it would be in the best interest of all to do it right. What I liked about the way it was presented to us was that there were guidelines to the best practices, not a book of rules you had to follow. We all want to run our operations in a safe, sustainable fashion that enhances the environment.
On the process
It was a great experience for me to have one of the Ministry of Agriculture’s Regional Engineers come to our place and help design the needed water diversion, etc. He spent a lot of time on site and, I am sure, a lot back in his office. Due to some uncertainties in our expansion, a period of time lapsed, but we finally got the necessary dike work in place.
We didn’t encounter any problems during the process and greatly appreciated the patience of the Agricultural Operations Unit as we worked through this. And the cost of the actual required dike work qualified for cost-shared funding through the Farm Stewardship Program.
On whether it’s been beneficial
The diversion of the water around the feedlot has helped dramatically in reducing the mud in the pens, and the run-off from the feedlot is contained, not running into a water source. This not only provided better conditions for the animals, but also the satisfaction of the water being kept cleaner.
On why other livestock producers should seek approval
That was a big question in my mind—“My parents had no permits, so why should I worry?” But the “what if?” question comes along with this. If it’s easy and sensible to get the necessary permits, why not? That is exactly what we did. I like the idea of doing everything we can to protect our environment, and also knowing that someone will be checking up on me to make sure I am complying to this.
To read about another producer’s experience, see One Producer’s Experience With The Agricultural Operations Act. 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.