A perceived lack of consultation for the previous Alberta government’s plan for Bighorn country led to concerns about future forestry operations, oil and gas exploration and various recreational pursuits such as random camping and off-highway vehicle access.  |  File photo

Alberta abandons previous Bighorn strategy

NDP had planned to develop eight new parks in the region; cattle producers worried about lack of grazing lease details

A controversial plan for changes in west-central Alberta’s Bighorn country, put forward by the previous government, has been scrapped by the United Conservative Party government and its new environment and parks minister. Jason Nixon said last week that the government will renew efforts to complete the North Saskatchewan Regional Plan and base any future changes […] Read more

The imprecise wording of changes to the Canadian Navigable Waters Act could allow minor streams to be deemed navigable in times of high flow and thus be accessible to the public even if they are on private land.  |  File photo

Navigable waters changes worry producers

Farmers and ranchers are concerned that federal Bill C-69 could open up public access to low-flow streams on their land

It’s a big legislative bill that could affect Canada’s ability to build pipelines, but Bill C-69 also has potential to affect farmers’ and ranchers’ use of waterways. The bill, now being considered and likely amended by the Canadian Senate, includes proposed changes to the Canadian Navigable Waters Act. Its imprecise wording has raised concern that […] Read more

A recent incident at a hog barn near Abbotsford, B.C., was sparked by the broadcast of a video said to have been taken inside. The protest by numerous animals rights activists has raised concern among producers and livestock commodity groups about safety, trespass and animal welfare.  |  PETA photo

Fifty activists occupy B.C. hog barn

Members of an animal rights group enter barn implicated in video; one person charged with break and enter, mischief

A busload of animal activists invaded a British Columbia hog operation April 28 in response to video footage claiming to show horrific conditions for the pigs within. B.C. media reports indicate about 50 protestors from a group called Meat the Victims entered the barn at Excelsior Hog Farms and occupied it for a short period […] Read more

Equine infectious anemia is a reportable illness in Canada with no cure or vaccine. Horses diagnosed with it are either euthanized or quarantined for life.  |  Mike Sturk photo

Equine infectious anemia shows up in horses across the Prairies

The disease, which is also known as swamp fever, has been found in nine animals in Saskatchewan and six in Alberta so far this year

Nine horses in Saskatchewan and six in Alberta have been diagnosed with equine infectious anemia so far this year. Six of the Saskatchewan horses are in the Meadow Lake region and one each in the rural municipalities of Big River, Lakeview and Beaver River. Directly across the border in Alberta, there has been one confirmed […] Read more

Prairie conservation easements have become more popular in recent years among ranchers as they make succession plans and seek to keep their properties intact.  |  File photo

Land trust gets cash infusion

More private land across Canada is likely to be preserved through conservation easements due to a major infusion of federal funding announced April 23. The Natural Heritage Conservation Program has earmarked $100 million to support agreements on privately owned land in areas considered to be ecologically sensitive. In practice, that means organizations including Nature Conservancy […] Read more

Little to no precipitation across southern Alberta in the past month, coupled with low water levels in reservoirs that feed two districts, have prompted the St. Mary River Irrigation District and the Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District to take a cautious approach to water allocation this year.  |  File photo

Alta. irrigation districts cut water commitment

Dryness prompts St. Mary River Irrigation District and Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District to go to 12 inches per acre

The irrigation season has begun in southern Alberta and some irrigation districts have altered their plans as dry conditions persist across much of the region. The St. Mary River Irrigation District (SMRID) and the Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District (LNID) have reduced their water delivery commitment to 12 inches per acre from the more usual 16 […] Read more

China is a major customer when it comes to exported cattle genetics sold as semen and embryos.  |  File photo

Livestock genetics companies hit export snag with China

The Canadian Beef Breeds Council says the country has not indicated why it has not renewed the licences for this year

China has not renewed export licences for two Canadian livestock genetics companies but it is unclear whether the delay is part of recent trade issues between the two countries. Alta Genetics, based in Balzac, Alta., and Semex, based in Guelph, Ont., are the two companies known to be affected. China is a major customer when […] Read more

Kendra Forbes, education and outreach coordinator with the Milk River Watershed Council, listens for the call of a nearby Sprague’s pipit, one of Alberta’s endangered bird species, during a recent tour of the Milk River Watershed.  |  Barb Glen photo

Where the human spirit has space to soar

A spring tour of the Milk River Watershed in southern Alberta provides visitors with a sense of their own insignificance

The short grass on the prairie west of Milk River, Alta., crunched underfoot April 26. It was an additional sensory signal that the region needs moisture, a condition already evident when viewing the tan-coloured hills and coulees. As more than one participant remarked during the Milk River Watershed spring tour, the vastness of the open […] Read more

Participants in an April 26 tour of the Milk River region explored the mouth of the so-called irrigation “Spite Ditch” developed in the early 1900s.  |  Barb Glen photo

Spite leads to international water agreement

Southern Alberta canal was accused at the time of ‘lacking in friendlyness,’ but a friendlier mood eventually prevailed

MILK RIVER, Alta. — The southern Alberta prairie is gradually reclaiming a humble-looking trench built more than 100 years ago to ensure farmers in the Milk River region were able to draw water and irrigate their land. At the time, its construction created an international incident but it ultimately led to a long-standing historical agreement […] Read more

Han Yi feeds pigs on his farm at a village in Changtu county in China’s Liaoning province in January. African swine fever has done significant damage to the country’s hog sector.  |  Reuters/Ryan Woo photo

China links ASF to infected meat

An international forum on African swine fever held in Ottawa also discussed zoning and compartmentalization tactics

Chinese officials believe that African swine fever entered the country with people who brought in meat infected with the virus. Since then, the highly infectious animal disease has killed millions of pigs in China and caused the eradication of many more as the country attempts to control and eradicate it. The presumed source of China’s […] Read more