The new regulations come into effect at the end of February
By Diego Flammini
British Columbia is revamping its rules for agricultural waste management.
Beginning Feb. 28., the Agricultural Environmental Management Code of Practice will replace the Agricultural Waste Control Regulation, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change said Jan. 23.
While the code of practice will apply to small hobby farms and large commercial operations, it will be applied with the understanding that not all farms and provincial regions are the same.
The new regulations are designed to help improve B.C. overall, said George Heyman, the province’s environment minister.
“We want to ensure agricultural practices are consistent with the protection of clean, safe drinking water,” he said in a Jan. 23 release. “These amendments are long overdue. We listened to the concerns and are outlining a clear and concise way forward for agricultural operators in B.C.”
The provisions will help to protect watercourses and groundwater by ensuring the proper storage and use of manure, and increased monitoring in high-risk areas.
Farmers will also need to collect soil samples to plan how to minimize the risk of nutrient loss to the environment.
The government will release more elements of its plan over the next decade.
Getting used to the new rules will take time, and some farmers are concerned about what happens when an inspector arrives on the farm.
“Every time you put in a new regulation, there’s someone along the chain that don’t understand the intent,” Larry Garrett, a rancher from Vanderhoof, B.C. and president of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association, told Farms.com. “It always comes down to the interpretation of the individual inspector and that’s what we have to work with.”