MUZICHUK: Hog Industry an Environmental Fiasco

MUZICHUK: Hog Industry an Environmental Fiasco

Postby Oscar » Thu May 01, 2008 8:21 pm

Published in the Community Post, Yorkton, SK on July 5, 2002

Dear Editor;

On Monday, May 27, the residents in the Rama, Invermay and Buchanan district received a surprise. The reality of hog-factory odours were evident as Big Sky Farms began to inject untreated pig manure (slurry) on land in the area of Number One barn site.

On Monday and Tuesday, there was a terrific windstorm, but that did not curtail the process. Residents noted that there was an increase in odour but were not aware that the application of pig slurry was under way until Thursday.

A family had to seek refuge in their basement because the odour not only entered the yard but their home, too. Another resident said he had difficulty breathing and felt like choking. His eyes were stinging and his eyesight was temporarily affected.

By the weekend, they were applying slurry from barn Number Two. A resident had to use a respiratory inhaler twice because of the adverse effects suffered.

The Village of Rama also had the pig aroma drift into the community on the weekend.

The next application of slurry commenced on June 7. That evening, a family had to seek refuge in their home because of the unbearable stench. The manure was applied beside sloughs and along the edge of the land. All drainage from this area goes into Good Spirit Lake. The potential for runoff is present, especially with the unstable weather patterns this year.

In the manual, Developing a Manure and Dead Animal Management Plan, compiled by Sask Agriculture and Food (March 2000), it states: "Solid or liquid manure can be surface spread and then incorporated. Volatilization losses of nitrogen increase with time, warm termperatures, wind and low humidity."

The regional specialits listed in the manual are: Ken McKnight and Bill Henley, Saskatoon; Brian Campbell and Darren Stovin, Yorkton; and Randy Vopni, Weyburn.

Honourable Clay Serby appointed a monitoring committee to ease the concerns of residents in this area. Called the Spirit Creek Watershed Monitoring Committee, the members are: Don Walters (chairperson), Good Spirit cottage owners; Jim Davis, Canora Beach; Randy Goulden, Tourism Yorkton; Adam Kosar, Mayor of Buchanan; Don Olson, Mayor of Sturgis; Florien Possberg, Big Sky Farms, Eugene Prychak, livestock and grain producer of Rama, Jack Prychak, Reeve of RM of Invermay; and Ray Riesz, Friends of Good Spirit Lake.

This committee is working in isolation and does not allow observers to their meetings. The attitude by some members is that the smell is not that bad! One member said that they didn't have to notify the residents of the impending manure application. Another member stated that all he could do is give his sympathy to the residents.

I hope that with this article, people who are directly affected by these mega factory hog barns would take a stand and become active in expressing their concerns. As citizens, we must protect our natural resources and not promote industrial activities that will destroy this province's eco-system. Let's not buy into the corporate agenda - a hidden agenda to the internal advantage of Agri-businesses and not to the public or the environment.

The push to develop factory hog industries in Saskatxcewan has become an environmental fiasco. It's a political and financial scandal that raises questions about the entire strategy of management of the agricultureal policy in regards to intensive livestock operations in Saskatchewan.

Isabel Muzichuk,
Buchanan, SK
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Environmental charge cuts Investment Saskatchewan profit

Postby Oscar » Thu May 01, 2008 8:27 pm

Environmental charge cuts Investment Saskatchewan profit ... ml?ref=rss

April 29, 2008 CBC News

Profits are down at Investment Saskatchewan, the Crown corporation that invests in various business ventures — partly as a result of environmental provisions related to the pulp and paper industry.

According to Investment Saskatchewan's 2007 annual report, released Monday, the company had net income last year of $11.5 million, compared with $72.9 million in 2006.

The decrease was partly as a result of a $24.1-million provision for environmental costs related to property formerly owned by Prince Albert Pulp Company Ltd. (PAPCO), a Crown corporation taken over by Weyerhaeuser in the 1980s. Weyerhaeuser's Prince Albert pulp and paper operation closed in 2006.

Also hurting the bottom line was a $15-million writedown of the province's investment in a hog business, Big Sky farms. More government money is earmarked for the same farm this year — $3.7 million.

Other assets performed better. Earnings from equity investments were $48.3 million higher than 2006 levels, reflecting gains by the fertilizer company Saskferco.

The company, which has total assets of $652 million, made new investments last year totaling $53 million.

The company paid $100 million to the Crown Investments Corp., the company that feeds Crown profits to the provincial treasury.

It's the first Investment Saskatchewan annual report to be released by the Saskatchewan Party government. While in Opposition, the party was opposed to the province "picking winners and losers" by investing in private companies, but that won't stop it from doing so for at least the foreseeable future.

Enterprise and Innovation Minister Lyle Stewart said Investment Saskatchewan has a contract requiring it to spend at least $25 million a year on new investments.

Continuing to do that until the deal expires in 2011 is one option, Stewart said.

"We have to determine if we're willing and able to do that, and that's certainly an option, renegotiating," Stewart said. "I suppose options as radical as changing legislation could be considered. But we're not there yet, we're at the point of looking into this matter."

Stewart has asked the board of Investment Saskatchewan to review its mandate. The new chair of that board is a former NDP finance minister, Janice MacKinnon.
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