We use water every day—in our work, in our meals and in countless other tasks. Why, then, wouldn’t we proudly do what we can to keep it as clean and safe as possible?
For a livestock operation, protecting our water means following the rules and regulations set out in The Agricultural Operations Act. The overall concept of following the Act is simple: gain the proper approvals, and then implement and follow the approved plans. Livestock producers should also follow or implement any beneficial management practices (BMPs) that protect the environment.
When it comes to water, storing and handling of animal waste is important. Proper manure storage, pen drainage and prudent management of manure as a fertilizer all contribute to better-quality water. These practices can also benefit herd health, improve feed conversion rates, reduce predation, increase soil quality and improve crop yields. And as a bonus, showing our dedication to water and environmental protection means better access to markets that are demanding sustainable production practices.
This is most effectively done by:
- Knowing the regulatory requirements;
- Identifying risks such as sources, receptors and pathways; and
- Developing plans that eliminate or reduce the risks.
Obtaining approval provides a record of your actions, as well as an independent review. This helps you avoid environmental complaints and sets you apart as a leader in the agriculture industry, protecting the industry’s social licence to operate.
We all have a responsibility to be environmental stewards and to be compliant with any environmental regulations that apply to us. For a livestock producer, this may include seeking approval under the Agricultural Operations Act. The Ministry of Agriculture encourages you to develop and implement an Environmental Farm Plan, which will help you identify environmental risks and allow you to apply for funding to implement BMPs.
Being environmental stewards is good for you, your operation and the environment.