Dairy expansion moves ahead

A dairy farmer looking to expand his operation was given a vote of confidence from Lacombe County council.

A dairy farmer looking to expand his operation was given a vote of confidence from Lacombe County council.

Nielsen Farms Ltd., located just north of the City of Lacombe, has applied to the Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB) to expand the milking herd to 400 cows from 200.

The NRCB typically consults with neighbouring municipalities when reviewing applications to see if it fits in with local municipal development plans and meets setback conditions.

County commissioner Terry Hager said the municipality took a neutral position — neither for nor against — a similar application by another farm a few months ago.

Councillor Rod McDermand said the county should take a stronger position.

“I don’t think we should necessarily be taking a neutral position. We should be taking an affirmative position. We are an agricultural county.

“If we are an agricultural community, let’s be an agricultural community.

“I don’t think we should apologize for that.”

Council voted on Wednesday to inform the NRCB it supports the expansion.

It also voted to accept an invitation by Jeff and Debby Nielsen to tour their dairy.