Hog farm given permission to expand

A Red Deer County hog farm has been given permission to expand despite odour concerns from neighbours.

A Red Deer County hog farm has been given permission to expand despite odour concerns from neighbours.

The Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB) approved an application by Spruit Farms Ltd. to go from an 800-sow farrow-to-wean operation to 500 sow farrow-to-finish. Owners Edwin and Sandra Spruit also intend to extend existing barns and add a new one at their farm about five km south of Red Deer next to the C&E Trail.

Almost a dozen nearby property owners sent letters to the NRCB raising concerns, including: potential odour problems, effect on property values, impact on water supplies and manure truck traffic.

Several pointed out the project will double the amount of manure produced.

In response to these issues, the Spruits reduced the size of a barn, proposed more manure storage to reduce truck traffic and to add another 300 acres of spreading fields to the existing 1,000 acres to reduce concentrations. Only 525 acres is required under regulations.

The Spruits proposed in their application to change ventilation systems to reduce odour and, if required, spread straw on the manure lagoon twice a year to reduce smell.

Approving officer Scott Cunningham addresses neighbours’ concerns in his approval. Odours will likely increase with the expansion, he notes, adding that setbacks from nearby residences, springs and water bodies fall within the separation distances outline in the Agricultural Operation Practices Act.

Spruit Farms also meets the act’s requirements for manure management and groundwater protection.

Cunningham concludes that the proposed expansion will have “acceptable effects on the economy and community, and will be an appropriate use of land. …”

Among conditions is that the Spruits continue to monitor water wells and to cease construction if the water table comes within one metre or less of the concrete liners of the barns.

As to property values, Cunningham says the NRCB has stated previously “the land value effects on any specific parcel of land are not relevant to the consideration of an application under AOPA by either the approval officer or the board.”

Neighbours have until Feb. 20 to appeal the NRCB approval.

Edwin Spruit said they have gone beyond the requirements in a number of areas to reduce the impact of their operation.

For instance, they have much more land already lined up than required for manure spreading and are improving barn ventilation, among other improvements.

Smell during fall manure spreading lasts only a few days and can be reduced by working manure into the ground, he said.

“I understand the neighbours’ complaints and the neighbours’ issues, that’s why I’ve tried to address them as best as I could,” he said.

Coincidentally, county council debated a proposal by a landowner to subdivide 19 nearby acres into nine country residential lots on Tuesday.

The subdivision would be located about 800 metres from the Spruits’ farm.

Under the county’s Municipal Development Plan, land is not to be rezoned residential if it falls within 1.6 km of an existing confined feeding operation.

Council unanimously rejected the application.

“We can’t impact our existing livestock operations,” said Mayor Jim Wood. “I can see nothing but conflict (arising) from this particular application.”

County council has previously expressed support for the Spruits’ expansion plans.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the greater lag time between first and second doses will allow more Albertans to be effectively vaccinated sooner. (File photo)
Alberta extends time between vaccine doses means more people to get shot sooner

National Advisory Committee on Immunization says doses can be to up to four months apart

People watch the sun set in the Red Sea port city of Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
OPEC cartel, allies face decision on increasing oil output

OPEC Plus made deep cuts in output in 2020 to stave off a collapse in prices

The Twitter Canada office in Toronto is shown in this undated handout photo. Twitter Inc. will be bulking up on Canadian talent this year with a hiring spree meant to add dozens of engineers in the country to its staff. The San Francisco, Calif.-based social media giant said Thursday that it plans to form its first Canadian engineering hub with at least 24 new workers it will soon hire. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Twitter Canada
Twitter to launch engineering hub in Canada with dozens of hires this year

Twitter says technical talent has been evolving in the Canada recently

Jim Lowes, a living kidney donor who was inspired by Humboldt Broncos bus crash victim Logan Boulet, is photographed at his home in Burlington, Ont., on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Green Shirt Day, April 7, was started after the crash that killed 16 people and coincides with the anniversary of Logan Boulet’s death. Boulet’s family donated his organs after the crash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
Three years after Broncos bus crash, Logan Boulet still inspiring organ donation

Nearly 147,000 Canadians registered to be donors in two months

FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2021, file photo, a vehicle rests on its side after a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods in the Rancho Palos Verdes suburb of Los Angeles. Detectives are looking at data from the so-called “black box” of Tiger Woods’ SUV to get a clearer picture of what occurred during the Southern California rollover crash last week that seriously injured the golf star, authorities said Wednesday, March 3. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Detectives look at SUV’s ‘black box’ from Tiger Woods crash

California law allows law enforcement to seek search warrants for data recorders

FILE - In this Jan. 30, 2019 file photo, Alex Kurtzman, from left, Heather Kadin, Anson Mount, Sonequa Martin-Green and Ethan Peck participate in the “Star Trek: Discovery” show panel during the CBS All Access presentation at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour at The Langham Huntington in Pasadena, Calif. Paramount+ debuts Thursday, March 4, 2021 as the latest — and last — streaming option from a major media company, this time from ViacomCBS. The company hopes its smorgasbord of offerings — live sports and news, reboots of its properties like “Frasier” and “Rugrats,” original shows like “Star Trek: Discovery” and the ViacomCBS library will entice viewers(Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)
Will Paramount+ be a mountain or a molehill in streaming?

Over the last year and a half more and more streaming services have debuted

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre can accommodate up to 20 patients requiring a ventilator, says Alberta Health Services.  File photo by Advocate staff
Opinion: UCP government reneging on Red Deer hospital funding

Another year, another Alberta budget and another blow to central Albertans. Budget… Continue reading

Seattle Storm guards Sue Bird, right, and Jordin Canada pose for photos Wednesday, March 3, 2021, on the roof of the Space Needle in Seattle after they raised a flag with the team's new logo on it. Bird re-signed with the Storm earlier in the week. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Sue Bird staying busy with 20th Seattle season on horizon

Sue Bird staying busy with 20th Seattle season on horizon

Lille players celebrate after Jonathan David scored his side's second goal during the French League One soccer match between Lille and Marseille at the Stade Pierre Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
David scores 2 as Lille wins to stay two points clear of PSG

David scores 2 as Lille wins to stay two points clear of PSG

Canada defender Shelina Zadorsky, right, passes the ball in front of Argentina forward Sole Jaimes (9) during the second half of a SheBelieves Cup women's soccer match, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. Alphonso Davies and Shelina Zadorsky have been named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Phelan M. Ebenhack
Davies, Zadorsky named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February

Davies, Zadorsky named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February

Most Read