Fur farms will continue to grow and create good jobs in rural Nova Scotia while being held to firm environmental standards. New regulations introduced today implement this change.
"Nova Scotia is the first province in the country to establish regulations for its fur industry," said Agriculture Minister John MacDonell in a media release. "We talked with Nova Scotians, we heard their concerns, and we've put in place regulations that will help the industry contribute to our economy while protecting our environment."
The regulations focus on environmental management of operations with more than 100 mink or fox in their breeding herds. They concentrate on the storage, treatment and disposal of manure, waste feed and carcasses.
"As farmers, we continually strive to be good environmental stewards," said Dennis Boudreau, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture. "Although it will download costs to the farm business, the federation feels the regulations are a reasonable balance to protect our environment while allowing the industry to develop."
Some of the requirements in the regulations are:
-- a management plan approved by a professional engineer
-- surface water and soil monitoring programs
-- minimum distances for locating buildings and manure storage in relation to property lines and water courses
-- concrete pads for storing compost and solid manure
In addition, new farms and existing operations that have a significant increase in their breeding herd or females must have covered, concrete storage for liquid manure and closed-style sheds for housing animals.
Changes to the Fur Industry Act were also proclaimed today. They ensure existing farms that expand have only six months to comply with the new regulations, while farms not expanding have a three-year grandfather period. The amended act also requires any fur farms that stop operating to clean up waste.
Fur farming is a growing, rural-based industry in Nova Scotia worth about $140 million annually and employs about 1,000 people.