A new organization, the Ponoka Right to Farm Society, has been created to find a way to work together with land owners in Ponoka County while also being able to continue with farming practices. Black Press photo

Ponoka Right to Farm Society starts up

The organization advocates ways for Ponoka County residents to find ways to work together

The seeds of a new organization aimed at protecting farmers’ rights have been planted.

The group, Ponoka Right to Farm Society, was created partly in response to Ponoka County’s quick proposed changes to its municipal development plan related to confined feeding operations (CFOs), explained co-creator John Hulsman.

He and co-creator Karen Pierik met with Ponoka News to explain what they hope to achieve with the organization.

The society’s mandate is: Striving for cooperation between all rural residents of Ponoka County to produce sustainable and responsible agriculture and future development for the benefit of the entire community.

Organizers are only just getting the society off the ground and Hulsman says they are currently working on becoming registered.

“Our membership consists of people from the farming community but also people that support us — whether it’s industry or business and beyond Ponoka,” said Hulsman.

Pierik added that they have members who own land that is registered as country residential and don’t have any work with CFOs.

She said members understand the goal of the society and feel working together will ensure everyone in the county can move forward.

There has been some disagreement over uses of CFOs in Ponoka County and a recent public meeting highlighted some of them.

Pierik added that modern farming and other land uses can co-exist. “We see it well done in Fraser Valley.”

“Agriculture can be mixed right within country residentials (land designations) but they are somehow co-habitating together,” she added.

Her hope is the group will be able to look at ways to make it work. Pierik recognizes that there are challenges that come with living next to a farm such as manure spreading. “But it is well regulated by the Natural Resources Conservation Board. (NRCB).”

She suggests that part of being a good neighbour is by keeping the lines of communication open. This would be helpful in instances where manure spreading needs to occur and the farmer could contact the neighbour stating as much. On the other side, a neighbour with wedding plans could call the farm operator and ask to hold off spreading manure on that day, suggests Pierik.

“Everything’s about creating a balance and having open communication,” she said.

To find out more about how things work in Fraser Valley, Pierik says the society is reaching out to groups in that area.

When it comes to provincial legislation, Hulsman says there are several areas where CFOs have to operate and they include NRCB and Alberta Environment guidelines.

“We are closely monitored in virtually everything we do,” said Hulsman.

“The recent CFOs are far more monitored than anything previously”

Hulsman pointed out that despite the size of some of the CFOs in the county, the majority are still family farms.

Pierik advocates for more communication with the general public with open houses to allow people to see exactly how farms operate.

Hulsman feels the demand for food is only going to grow, which will increase production at intensive livestock operations as well as other farm operations.

However, within the society’s mandate is to work together with others, said Hulsman. Working closely with neighbours is an important piece of this issue and those very neighbours end up having their kids work at his dairy farm.

“I’ve got countless high school students that will have me as a first job on their resume,” he explained. “I’d hate to be pushed away and expect these kids to drive from who knows where to do this.”

Pierik added that sentiment and said the high school kids will work early in the morning to make some extra cash while their parents are pleased to see them being productive.

The goal is to find a way to work together with residents in Ponoka County.

For those looking to get in touch with the Ponoka Right to Farm Society, email ponokarighttofarmsociety@gmail.com for more information.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: LeAnn Rimes kicks off Stampede

The 2019 Ponoka Stampede concert series featured a big name country star to lead things off

Local cowboys take the Stampede lead on opening night

Bareback, team roping has Ponoka sitting pretty in race to the finals

Chicks for Charity’s “Champagne High Tea” an elegant success

Chicks for Charity’s ninth annual fundraising event on June 22, “Champagne High… Continue reading

Maskwacis youth found dead on reserve

The remains of 16 year old Houston Omeasoo found June 25

VIDEO: Stop-motion artist recreates Kawhi Leonard’s famous buzzer-beater

It took Jared Jacobs about 40 hours to make the video, on top of the research

Storm caused transformer fire, power outages

Thunderstorm kept fire department busy

Lower youth minimum wage won’t apply at this year’s Calgary Stampede

A new minimum wage of $13/hr is now in effect for Alberta workers aged 13 to 17

NOTICE: Road closures today due to construction

Temporary road closure on 46 Ave. June 26, 2019 There will be… Continue reading

Rock slide in B.C. river may hinder salmon passage

DFO says it is aware that the slide occurred in a narrow portion of the Fraser River

Four-hour tarmac delay violates charter rights of Canadians with a disability: lawsuit

Bob Brown says new rules reduce the distance he can travel by air without putting his health at risk

Don’t miss Canada Day celebrations around Ponoka

There’s no shortage of exciting activities around town on Canada Day, whether… Continue reading

Fighter Jets light up Bucs’ to take AFL first place

38-3 loss puts Central Alberta into second place in the AFL

Most Read