County backs dairy expansion

A dairy operation near Penhold should be allowed to expand, say Red Deer County councillors.

A dairy operation near Penhold should be allowed to expand, say Red Deer County councillors.

The Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB) forwarded an application to the county for comment on a farmer’s plan to expand a dairy herd to 300 cows from 200 about 1.6 km west of Penhold. A stock facility and manure pad is also proposed.

While it is up to the NRCB to approve or reject the application, it is routine to ask the municipality for its feedback.

County planning staff recommended the municipality oppose the expansion because the dairy operation was located within a new confined feeding operation exclusion area as outlined in the Municipal Development Plan. Typically, the zones are created to allow existing operations but prohibit expansion to avoid conflicts with nearby land uses, such as residential areas.

County councillors were sympathetic to the dairy, pointing out businesses must expand to survive.

Mayor Jim Wood said if the dairy was a new operation it would not be supported, but allowing the dairy to expand would not create more nuisance.

Council voted unanimously to offer no objections for the dairy farmer’s application.

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