|"When an activity raises
threats of harm to human health or the environment,
precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and
effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.
In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the
public, should bear the burden of proof." - Wingspread
Statement of the Precautionary Principle.
- Who is North East
Hogs? -- Information Brochure -- April 9, 2003
of Stop the Hogs -- April 21, 2003
of Stop the Hogs -- April 22, 2003
- Minutes of
Stop the Hogs --
April 24, 2003
of Stop the Hogs-- April 27, 2003
of Stop the Hogs-- May 7, 2003
of Stop the Hogs-- May 8, 2003
- Rural Group
Discusses Mega Hog Issue With Serby, Belanger -- June 6, 2003
- Investigate New Technology --
Wadena News -- July 15, 2003
Who is North
Brochure from April 9, 2003
We are a group from the Tisdale/Archerwill area organized to explore the
possibility of setting up an Intensive Livestock Operations (hogs) in our
area. Our goals are to:
- Stimulate local economic activity and growth
- Create local employment opportunities
- Develop additional markets for locally grown feed grains
Saskatchewan enjoys many natural advantages in producing hogs, including:
- Feed Costs. Whether we like
it or not, high freight costs and the lack of significant local market
results in relatively lower grain prices here than anywhere else in
Canada. Since feed is over 60% of the cost of producing a market
animal, raising hogs in Saskatchewan simply makes good economic sense.
- Climate. Saskatchewan's
cold, dry weather may not seem like much of a benefit, but it is great
for controlling disease and maintaining high feed conversions.
Pigs do not do well in hot weather and it's a lot easier to heat a barn
than cool it.
- Animal Health. The
Saskatchewan hog industry has one of the highest animal health standards
in the world.
- World Class Genetics. Many
of the world's leading swing genetic companies have nucleus and
multiplication units in Saskatchewan.
- Low Hog Density.
- Manitoba - 11 times greater.
- north Caroline - 70 times greater.
- Netherlands - 120 times greater.
- An Abundance of Acres on which to apply
Manure. Properly managed, hog manure will produce crop
yields at least as good as commercial fertilizer but at a much lower
- Saskatchewan Research Community.
Saskatchewan is recognized has having world-class capabilities in the
field of swine research.
Why Big Sky Farms?
- Big Sky sets up a local feed mill and scale for each project as
opposed to buying processed feed and hauling it in from outside areas.
- Big Sky sources the capital required to proceed with a project.
It is impossible to raise sufficient funds locally to proceed with a
project of this size.
- Big Sky has already successfully developed and is operating similar
sized projects. Big Sky hires local people and supports local
What is a 5,000 Sow Big Sky
Big Sky's Production Units operate on a three-site format
A Breeder/Farrow barn with the
capacity for approximately 5,000 sows plus boars and gilts. The
Breeder/Farrow barn will produce approximately 2,400 piglets per week.
One Nursery barn with the
capacity for 19,200 weanling pigs. Weanlings are fed for seven to
eight weeks, reaching an average weight of 27 kilograms.
Three Finisher barns on three
separate sites; 2 barns with the capacity for 14, 4000 animals and one barn
with the capacity for 12,000 animals.
A feed mill similar to Big
Sky's mills at Ogema and Rama plus a large scale at a centralized location.
On an annual basis, a Big Sky feed mill typically purchases:
540,000 Bushels Barley
660,000 Bushels Wheat
300,000 Bushels Peas
Amounts can vary with changes in price and availability.
How is manure managed?
All Big Sky manure is tested for total N, ammonium,
phosphorous, sulfur and several other nutrients and properties. Test
results provide the basis for determining application rates in consultation
with the farmer.
Example: A farmer has land near a Big Sky breeder/farrow
barn, and wants 120 lbs N applied/acre. In 2002, breeder/farrow barn
manure in the Big Sky system averaged 19.5 lbs ammonium/1000 gallons, 5.8
lbs phosphate and 1.4 lbs sulfur. To get 120 lbs N the application
rate would be: 120/19.5x1000=6,154 gallons/acre (1 inch of rain is
approximately 22,000 gallons per acre). This application would also
provide 36 lbs phosphate and 9 lbs of sulfur per acre. At today's
fertilizer prices the value of N, P and S from this application is over $60
per acre. Big Sky charges $5 per acre to apply on pastures and
hayfields, $15 per acre on crop land.
How is manure applied?
Big Sky uses an umbilical system to apply manure,
consisting of a pump located at the manure storage and enough 6" hose
to go up to 4 miles from the site. This hose is stepped down to a
special 5" drag hose in the field and pulled behind an applicator as
manure is applied. One of the major advantages of using hoses instead
of tankers to deliver manure to the field is that road impact is eliminated.
Big Sky has two applicators available. One is a single
disk opener developed by Bourgault and similar in design to their mid-row
banders. The second is an Aerway applicator consisting of a manure
distribution system mounted on a pasture aerator. Both units create
minimal soil disturbance and work well with no-till farming systems.
Rates are determined by a flow meter located on the injector and set by
varying tractor speed.
What about Odour??
Although odour cannot be completely eliminated, its impact
is reduced by:
Straw coverings on EMS facilities.
Good quality barley straw spread as a cover has been proven to be an
effective method of reducing odour. Big Sky owns a straw blower and
applies approximately 150 round barley straw bales/site/year.
Direct injection of manure.
Directly injecting manure into the soil with an injector type implement
greatly reduces odour. Direct injection also eliminates the risk of
manure run-off into surface water bodies, and preserves nutrients by
Location, location, location.
Paying attention to prevailing winds, utilizing bush and shelter belts, and
using common sense all go a long way to reducing the impact of odour on
Who is liable?
An issue has been raised about liability and risks that a
landowner might face if Big Sky is given permission to inject manure on the
land. Big Sky accepts all liability and has a comprehensive insurance
policy that will also cover the farmers' legal costs.
By the Numbers
|Facts and Figures for a 5000 Sow Farrow
to Finish Operation
|Total number of sites
||5 barns + 1 mill site
|Hogs produced annually
|Total project cost
|Total construction cost
|Construction jobs created
||200 - 250
|Full-time jobs created
|Part-time jobs created
||6 - 12
|Annual local payroll
|Annual local feed grain purchased
||1.4 million bushels
|Annual water usage
||50 - 55 million gallons3
|Annual manure production
||40 million gallons
|Acres fertilized per year
||5,000 - 6,000
|Acres fertilized on a 3 year rotation
||15,000 - 18,000
|1 - Includes cash flow
to first pigs to market
2 - Does not include employer payroll costs or
employee benefits of dental, medical, disability and pension.
3 - To put this in perspective, a 160 acre
field at Regina on average receives 51,000,000 gallons of
precipitation per year.
As appearing on the informational brochure
Names crossed off are individuals who have since resigned
|Robin Rustad |
|Allan Nelson |
|Robert Wilson |
|Rene J. George |
|Christie MacDonald |
|Rick Hamel |
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Minutes of the "STOP the HOGS
April 21, 2003
Home of Elaine Hughes - Archerwill, SK
A planning meeting was held at 7:30 p.m. on April 21, 2003 at the home
of Elaine Hughes to decide what to do about opposing the hog barns.
In attendance were: Jean & Raymond Hiron, June Prevost,
About two hours was spent familiarizing ourselves with material we had
received from friends in Wynyard and Kelvington areas who are also
fighting the hog barns.
It was decided to telephone all the people we knew who are opposed to
the hog barns to attend an informational meeting the following evening in
the Committee Room in Archerwill Hall.
Meeting adjourned at 10:00 p.m.
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Minutes of the "STOP the HOGS
April 22, 2003
Archerwill Hall Committee Room - Archerwill, SK
An informational meeting was held at 7:00 p.m. on April 22, 2003 in the
Archerwill Hall Committee Room. It was a time to learn about the
proposed pig barns to be set up in the Tisdale/Archerwill (Barrier Valley
RM) and Rose Valley (Ponass Lake RM) area. Chairman Raymond Hiron
opened the meeting at 7:05 p.m. by welcoming everyone and thanking them
for coming. Thirty-four people signed the register.
Jean Hiron read some information about the negative impacts of mega hog
barns. She invited people to help themselves to the handouts and
take note of the posted list of websites that people could use to inform
themselves about these operations. Using a geological map of
Saskatchewan, Elaine Hughes pointed out the type of soil that most of the
RM of Barrier Valley is composed of - it is glacial river deposits of
gravel, sand and silt transported and deposited by glacial melt water.
The soil of all of the RM of Ponass Lake area is glacial deposits of
till consisting of unsorted mixtures of boulders, gravel, sand, silt and
clay deposited from glacial ice during periods of advance, retreat and
stagnation. Neither of these types of soil would seem suitable for
receiving and cleansing the enormous amounts of raw liquid manure that the
pig factories produce and spread on the land surrounding the barns.
There is grave concern for water contamination from surface runoff and
seepage into the aquifers below.
We then listened to recorded speeches from the National Farmers' Union
Meeting in November, 2002. The first of these was made by Fred Tait,
President of Hogwatch Manitoba. He spoke about the hog barns in
Manitoba, specifically those near Brandon where Maple Leaf is operating a
huge meat packing plant. His final comment was rural communities
need to regain democratic control of their destiny from corporate
John Ikerd, Agricultural Economist at the University of Missouri, then
spoke of the industrialization of farms under corporate ownership.
He commented that people need to benefit from farming, but not at the
expense of others. We need to find ways to save our economy other
than by corporations.
The final speaker was Lisa Bechtold, a young farmer's wife who lead the
fight to stop Taiwan Sugar Company from building a mega hog operation near
her home in Hardisty, Alberta. She said she is in favour of saving
family farms as they are true environmentalists; they want to keep the
land, air wand water safe for the enxt generation. Factory barns are
supposed to be state of the art technology. The Titanic was also
state of the art technology!
A donation of $200.00 was gratefully received from Evie Lund from
Kelvington. A total of $37.00 was collected at the door, from which
$20.00 was taken for rent of the Committee Room. volunteers cam
forward to help organize future meetings. Raymond adjourned the
meeting at 9:00 pm.
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Minutes of the "STOP the HOGS
April 24, 2003
An organizational meeting was held
at 10:00 a.m. on April 24, 2003 at the home of Jean and Raymond Hiron.
Those present: Jean & Raymond Hiron, Sharleen Syrenne, Lynne Prevost,
Elaine Hughes, June Prevost, Gerald Hiron, Cheryl Hurion.
Elaine Hughes made a motion that
Lynne Prevost continue as Secretary/Treasurer and that she open an account
in either St. Front or Rose Valley Credit Union, with Sharleen Syrenne as
second signature. It was
decided to call the group STOP the HOGS Coalition.
June Prevost seconded and all in favour. Also, she should get a
receipt book and send one to Evie Lund for her generous donation of $200.00.
It was decided that we hold a public
information meeting on April 28, 2003 in Archerwill, inviting the
Councillors from both RMs, representatives from North East Hogs/Big Sky
Hogs, and try to get some special speakers.
The phoning committee consists of Elaine, June, Cheryl and Jean. Sandra Lowndes is invited to attend and tell of her personal
experience with hog barns.
Lynne phoned Rose Valley lawyer,
Roderick Gall, to find out what legalities we need on a petition.
Suggestions for the wording of the petition have been collected and
we will try to make one to suit our needs.
It was suggested that we prepare a
printed mail drop for next week that would point out 10 reasons why we are
against the hog barns. We also
have to decide upon a chairperson to conduct our meetings.
Meeting adjourned at 12:00 noon.
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Minutes of the "STOP the HOGS
April 27, 2003
Lynne's Crafty House - St. Front, SK
Meeting was held at 1:00 p.m. on April 27, 2003 at Lynne's Crafty House
in St. Front.
A checklist was reviewed to see if everything was ready for tomorrow
evening's meeting. The petitions to oppose all Intensive Livestock
Operations in the individual RMs were drawn up, ready for signature at the
public meeting in Archerwill tomorrow evening. A handout setting out
20 information tidbits taken from various research sources was also
prepared and photocopied. Sharleen will chair tomorrow's meeting and
will prepare an agenda. The names of the speakers will be
included. The media has also been asked to attend.
The amount of information is rapidly increasing and although we have
not yet had time to absorb it all, it's important that we share what we
have with others as quickly as possible. It all covers the enormous
harmful effects from the mega hog operations on both the environment and
the health of people working in or living near these factories.
It was decided that cheques given as donations should be made out to
STOP the HOGS Coalition and receipts given. Cheques of $200.00 each
were received from Gerald & Susan Hiron and Raymond & Jean Hiron.
We would also like to note that we are not the C.A.V.E. people
(Citizens Against Virtually Everything) -- a definition used by Mr.
Possberg of Big Sky Hogs. We are C.A.R.E. people (Citizens Against
Meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.
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of the "STOP the HOGS Coalition"
of Ponass Lake #367
May 7, 2003
STOP the HOGS Coalition-Ponass Lake
RM #367 met at St. Front in Lynne’s Crafty House on May 7, 2003 at 7:30
p.m. to compile and photocopy the petitions to be presented to the RM of
Attending were: Frank & Jeanette Lipinski, Gerald Hiron, Stan &
Eleanor Pacholik, Jean Hiron, Kim Prevost, Elaine Hughes & Lynne Prevost.
RM of Ponass Lake – 224; Fosston – 6; Rose Valley – 98; for a
total of 328.
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of the "STOP the HOGS Coalition"
of Ponass Lake #367
May 8, 2003
Committee went to the RM office for
11:15 a.m. on May 8, 2003 to present the petition requesting that no mega
hog barns be built in the RM. Members
were Stan Lipinski, Frank & Jeanette Lipinski, Gerald & Susan Hiron,
Raymond & Jean Hiron, Myron Sehurko, Sharleen Syrenne & Lynne
When we said we were there to
present a petition on behalf of 328 people from the RM of Ponas Lake, Town
of Rose Valley & Village of
Fosston (note: not all people
had been contacted due to spring seeding & not being home), Mr. Connell,
the Reeve, informed us that they were way ahead of us because they were
sending out a plebesite for all rate payers to vote for or against hog barn.
Rural Group Discusses Mega Hog
Issue With Serby, Belanger
By Jack Maluga
June 6, 2003
concerns and recommendations relating to mega hog operations were presented
during a recent meeting between a group of rural residents and two
provincial cabinet ministers in Regina.
delegation of 16 rural residents from nine east-central and north-eastern
rural municipalities met with Agriculture Minister,
Clay Serby and Environment Minister, Buckley Belanger on May 14th at
the Legislature. The rural delegation included farmers from the Quill
Lake-Watson, Wynyard, Foam Lake-Sheho, Rama, Churchbridge, Archerwill-Rose
Valley, Porcupine Plain and Whitewood regions. Most of the areas have been
chosen as locations for mega hog expansion, or have existing operations.
industrial hog operations under construction in Saskatchewan are 5,000 sow
production units. They consist of five huge barns, holding approximately
65,000 hogs, as well as a smaller boar barn. According to the developers,
they use 50 million gallons of water and generate 40 million gallons of
liquid manure annually.
raised at the meeting ranged from environmental concerns; to divisive
effects on communities; to the implications factory farms will have on
family farms. Mr. Serby was
told that small-scale hog production is as economically viable as mega
farms, but due to the government's promotion of large-scale operations,
small-scale operators are disappearing.
ministers were informed a mega hog operation is being developed in an area
internationally recognized for its diverse bird-habitat – the Quill Lakes.
Each year the Quill Lakes are used by nearly one million birds - they
are also a seasonal home to more than 150,000 shorebirds including the
endangered Piping Plover. The towns of Wynyard, Wadena and Foam Lake have
been actively promoting birding projects in the area in an attempt to
Serby was reminded that tourism should also play an important part in his
rural revitalization plans. It was pointed out to Mr. Belanger that concerns
over chemical changes to Big Quill Lake resulted in a full-scale
environmental impact assessment being done when a potassium sulphate plant
was built on the south shore of the lake in the 1980's – however, mega hog
operations in Saskatchewan have not yet had to undergo such an assessment.
concerns were also an important issue in the Whitewood area where a mega hog
operation near the Scissors Creek received provincial approval this spring.
Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food have promised a two-foot dyke will be
built around the barn sites, but the potential for trouble if a manure spill
occurs and it reaches the Qu'Appelle River was raised. Mr. Serby was asked
to put a hold on construction until the site was re-assessed. The cabinet
ministers were told that approximately 15 families live in the proximity of
the proposed hog barns - some of which have plaques recognizing the fact the
land has been in their families for 100 years.
delegation from the Churchbridge-Langenburg area told Mr. Serby the RM of
Churchbridge had paid thousands of dollars for testing for suitable sites
for barns without the consent of their ratepayers and the RM would only be
repaid if the hog project went ahead.
was also expressed that a pilot project currently underway by the provincial
government and SARM could take approval of intensive livestock operations
out of the hands of municipalities. Mr. Serby and Belanger were told that a
mega hog project was not compatible with plans for attracting tourism to a
proposed mineral spa in the Langenburg area.
from the Foam Lake-Sheho area outlined the series of events that took place
in the RM of Foam Lake last winter, where a mega hog project was turned
down. They expressed concerns that mega hog industry officials sit on
committees that make decisions on how their industry is regulated. There are
no guarantees that the public's interests and concerns are addressed, the
Foam Lake group said. Industrial
farming is not economic growth, but destruction of a way of life, the
Belanger was asked why piezometer readings around earthen hog lagoons in
Rama (which measure possible leakage) are not available to the public, or
even to environment department officials. "The government sets them up
(mega hog operations) and then they regulate themselves," one farmer
Archerwill-Rose Valley delegation discussed a proposed 5,000-sow hog
operation in the RMs of Barrier Valley and Ponass Lake. They were concerned
that a questionnaire circulated at an informational meeting held April 9th
in Archerwill and Rose Valley was taken as an indication the public welcomed
the project. However, residents of the northern half of the RM of Barrier
Valley, closest to Tisdale, received no notice of the meetings at all. Local
residents have since formed a "Stop The Hogs Coalition" and
petitions are being circulated against the project in both RMs. A plebiscite
in the RM of Ponass Lake has been sent out to ratepayers and must be
returned by June 30th.
Serby was asked to leave the business of raising livestock to the farmers of
Saskatchewan. "Farmers are a versatile bunch, but family farms can't
compete with corporate farms - especially those funded by government money.
With pork prices as low as they are, these corporations are losing money,
and yet they plan to expand," a Rose Valley area resident said.
With the federal government suggesting farmers will have to prepare
individual environmental farm plans by the year 2008, Mr. Serby was asked
why his government was encouraging the unprecedented growth of the mega hog
industry - an industry whose environmental practices will soon be outdated,
if not outlawed.
issue was also raised by the delegation from Watson-Quill Lake, which asked
Mr. Serby to put a hold on the hog development in their RM until new
technology such as bio-digesters are available. The digesters, which are
used in Europe and on at least one Alberta Hutterite colony, remove methane
gas from manure and convert it to electricity. Water can be re-used, and
only a small amount of concentrated manure remains. However, their arguments
failed to sway Mr. Serby, who said Saskatchewan currently raises fewer
cattle than Alberta and fewer hogs than Manitoba.
At one point during the meeting he interjected,
"You're all telling me the same thing, and I've heard these
Belanger stated his department is not being pressured by Sask Agriculture to
approve sites that shouldn't be developed. He said they act independently of
Mr. Serby's department.
Investigate New Technology
July 15, 2003
When we first learned of the proposed mega-hog barn in
our area, we were amazed that anyone could have thought this a good idea,
especially after investigating Intensive Livestock Operations (ILOs).
Is our area in such dire straits that a mega-pig barn is the only
solution? The economic benefits
and spin-offs from these barns will mostly be in the cities in the
processing and packing plants. The
jobs created by these barns, at best, will likely only sustain the
population at its present level because there will be people who will leave
the area (always supposing they are able to sell their property) rather than
live beside the barn. The fumes
from these barns contain ammonia and highly-toxic hydrogen sulfide and 70%
of hog barn workers have symptoms of respiratory illness.
Misuse of antibiotics is leading to bacterial
resistance to the drugs. Antibiotic
use in animals is 100 to 1,000 times the use in humans and 90% used on
agricultural animals are not used to treat infectious disease, but to
promote growth and as an aid in the prevention of disease.
The Canadian Medical Association has expressed concern regarding the
risk to public health and has asked federal, provincial and territorial
governments for a moratorium on the expansion of the hog industry until
scientific data on the attendant health risks are known.
The confined housing used in these factory-like barns
is conducive to promoting diseases. The
sows in these barns are kept in crates for most, if not all, of their adult
life. They are not able to turn
around or get any exercise of any kind.
If we were to treat our dog or cat in this manner, we would be
prosecuted for cruelty to animals.
The feed mill will not utilize all the grain that our
elevator used to handle. It
will buy feed wheat, feed barley and feed peas but only if the quality and
price is right. Currently, Big
Sky Farms Inc. is importing corn from the United States.
For those who think tourism will not be affected, talk
to those who have golfed downwind from the hog barn, those who enjoy a
friendly ball game (in the wrong direction to the hog barn), and those who
have tried to barbecue on a hot summer evening, only to have to move indoors
with windows shut, or those who own cabins at the resorts.
Ask them if they are in favour of having a mega-hog barn in the
community? Our government’s
new promotion for the province of “breathe deep” and “fresh air” in
our “wide open” spaces is a little misleading considering they are also
promoting the expansion of ILOs.
It is said that ILOs have come a long way from the days
of the North Carolina hog barns. Have
they really? Do they not still
use grated floors and earthen waste lagoons?
The method of application of waste to surrounding fields has changed
– from tanks and direct application systems to pipes and injection
application. This method poses
fewer risks to workers (they don’t have to load the tanks so less risk of
gas fumes?) but may restrict the land available to receive the waste (can be
spread on up to a four-mile radius – with preference to a three-mile
radius). Over the lifetime of
the barn, this means an over-application of manure, which in time, does
leech down into the soil and ground water.
The water problems in Walkerton, Ontario have been linked to
livestock operations in the surrounding area.
There is technology available and in use in Europe and
Alberta using a digester to separate the solid manure from the liquid and
process the liquid making it possible to recycle up to 80% of the water for
barn use. This technology is
used to reduce odors, remove the solid for composting, process the liquid to
remove toxins and harness the methane gas for use as electricity.
When Iron Creek Hutterite Colony near Viking, Alberta built its first
$2 million methane digester, it eliminated its yearly bills of $100,000 for
manure injections and $250,000 for electricity, reduced its $60,000 water
bill, cut its heating bill in half and carried $110,000 selling power to the
provincial grid – all from manure.
This is amazing technology, but it is not being used.
Saskatchewan has only one barn in the province using this technology
as a “pilot project”. Why
not put a moratorium on hog barn expansion until this new technology is more
Stop the Hogs Coalition
Rose Valley, SK