Relocation of Livestock Facilities Planning Guide

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 Introduction | Table of Contents

Relocation of Livestock Facilities Planning Guide

This publication was developed to assist producers in identifying the environmental risks associated with their current livestock facilities, helping them determine how to mitigate the risks and steps to consider when relocating facilities.


When settlers arrived on the Prairies in the late 19th century, they required homesteads that would provide the basic necessities for life. As a result, most of our original farm sites were established near water to provide access to water, food, transportation routes and protection from the elements. Many of these sites are still functioning farms today.

For many livestock operations, expansion has occurred gradually, on or close to the original homestead location. In addition, public awareness and scientific understanding of the potential risk to water associated with livestock production has increased. Similarly, producers and resource managers have recognized the importance of maintaining healthy landscapes and watersheds. Today, a much greater emphasis is placed on proper design, siting and management of livestock facilities to mitigate environmental impacts.

In some cases, the environmental risks associated with livestock facilities may be minimized by implementing practices such as farmyard runoff control, extending the grazing period, in-field livestock feeding and other grazing or riparian stewardship practices. In other cases, the most appropriate method to minimize impact may be to relocate the livestock facility away from the water.

The first step in determining the best approach for addressing risks associated with a site will be to conduct a site assessment. By evaluating the site and current management practices, it can be determined if a change in management will effectively eliminate the risk or if structural changes are needed.

Water includes water sources such as dugouts, wells, canals and springs, as well as surface water bodies such as lakes, sloughs, rivers, creeks, etc.

Relocating a poorly placed livestock facility provides significant benefits to the farm operation, downstream water users and the broader watershed. Benefits can include improved herd health, improved water quality, reduced stream bank degradation, improved riparian function and improved public perception. In addition to environmental and production benefits, most poducers who have relocated livestock facilities indicate that working with new or upgraded facilities can result in improved operational efficiencies.

This publication will assist you in assessing and understanding the risks of your current site. It provides mitigation options that consider legislative requirements, planning and design of upgraded facilities and construction requirements to relocate your facility or reclaim old sites.

Table of Contents

Planning Guide Acknowledgements
Section 1 - Current Site Assessment
Section 2 - Mitigation
Section 3 - Steps to Consider in Relocating
Section 4 - Producer Profiles
A. Budget Worksheets
B. Resource List

The entire book is available as a downloadable PDF.

Prepared by:
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
Environmental Stewardship Division

Source: Agdex 400/28-4. October 2015

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Chris Ullmann.
This document is maintained by Jennifer Rutter.
This information published to the web on October 27, 2015.
Last Reviewed/Revised on October 16, 2017.