Orphan wells: Alberta’s $47 billion problem

As energy sector companies fail, landowners wonder who’s on the hook for reclamation costs of wells and pipelines

TABER, Alta. — As farmers drove to the March 8 Action Surface Rights meeting, the news had just broken that Calgary-based Sequoia Resources Corp. had ceased operations. Its demise, if it occurs, would add at least another 2,300 oil and gas wells and possibly as many as 4,000 to the list of energy infrastructure sites […] Read more

‘Paid hunting’ fee proposed to access land

Alta. ranchers look for solutions as tension builds between those who lease public land and those who want to use it

BROOKS, Alta. — An email sent to Fort Macleod, Alta., area rancher Bill Newton last fall was initially polite. A prospective hunter requested access to grazing land that Newton leases, specifying when and where he wanted to hunt. Newton sent a polite reply, refusing access due to excessively dry conditions and the heightened risk of […] Read more

Swamp fever rearing its head in 2018

Horses infected with equine infectious anemia may show some, all or none of the following:

One case of equine infectious anemia, also known as swamp fever, has been found in Alberta within the past month. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed March 1 that a case had been found in a horse in Strathcona County near Edmonton. It is just the most recent incident of a complex disease that confounds […] Read more

Grazing proposal stalls

BROOKS, Alta. — A proposal to modernize the fee structure for Alberta grazing leases remains in provincial government hands as leaseholders await developments. Alberta Grazing Leaseholders Association chair Pat Rutledge told those at the group’s annual meeting March 7 that the proposal approved by this group and four others with an interest in lease rates […] Read more

Caution urged with renewable energy contracts

Landowners told protections provided when dealing with oil and gas companies don’t apply to wind and solar sectors

TABER, Alta. — Southern Alberta’s abundance of sun and wind continues to attract proposals for wind and solar farms, but landowners should be wary about the contents of any contracts they sign, says a landowner advocate. Daryl Bennett, vice-president of industry and government regulatory affairs for the My Landman Group, said those who negotiate contracts […] Read more

Growing Alta. cities gobble up prime farmland

Alberta’s cities have an insatiable appetite for farmland, a recent study from the Alberta Land Institute reveals. In the Edmonton-Calgary corridor, urban development had swallowed 4,763 sq. kilometres of land as of 2013, a 52 percent increase from 1984, when the figure was 3,127 sq. km. In that same period, Calgary’s urban area expanded to […] Read more

Cattle herd shows slight increase

Slightly fewer beef heifers were held for breeding compared to last year but the number of steers rose 2.1 percent

Cattle numbers as of Jan. 1 this year were up slightly over January 2017 numbers, according to Statistics Canada’s livestock inventory figures released March 6. There were 11.6 million cattle on farms as of Jan. 1, a 0.9 percent increase over the previous year but still 22 percent less than the peak recorded in January […] Read more

Sheep are smart, handlers should be too

Miguel de Cervantes has it right. “Tis a dainty thing to command, though twere but a flock of sheep,” he wrote in Don Quixote. The author may have been speaking metaphorically, but making sheep go where desired can indeed be a delicate matter. It can be managed once people realize sheep are smart and adept […] Read more

Funds come in for award to honour Alberta rancher

BROOKS, Alta. — A legacy fund to honour the late James Hargrave of Walsh, Alta., is well on its way to establishment. Members of the Alberta Grazing Leaseholder’s Association got an update March 7 during a meeting where Hargrave’s absence as chair was all too obvious. “We just want to keep his memory alive,” said […] Read more

Rural shooting in Alberta sparks calls for action

Ranchers vow to support landowner charged in shooting, but rural crime watch group warns against using guns

Sympathies and concerns are both being expressed in rural Alberta following charges laid against a rural Okotoks-area man alleged to have shot and injured a person whom he believed to be stealing his property. Edouard Maurice, who lives just outside Okotoks, is scheduled to appear in court March 9 on charges of aggravated assault, pointing […] Read more