Brooks (County Voice) –  A county in southern Alberta has passed a policy to combat soil erosion.

In December the County of Newell approved a soil conservation policy.

Director of Agricultural Services Todd Green says the creation of the policy came together last year after they had to deal with a lot of blowing soil.

“The policy is just to guide staff and how we deal with soil erosion,” Green said.

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He says the policy was brought forward on December 9 after a long campaign to build that policy, which utilized local farmers to bring it all together.

“I think council is happy with it and I’m very happy with it and I’m looking forward to being able to use the content for having consistent conversations throughout the county.”

Green says light soils in their region leave them vulnerable to soil erosion.

“Everybody knows Southern Alberta can get a little breezy.”

Green says every time you see soil blowing, you’re losing the most productive part of the land that you purchased.

“So we’re talking organic matter, fertility, all the good stuff. On the other side, we’re also potentially losing some of the bad stuff. So maybe that’s weed seeds, maybe that’s crop diseases, some soil-borne crop diseases, maybe a producer had used pre-emergent herbicides and worked them in.”

Green says your neighbours might not be ready to accept what comes their way.

“When you start seeing soil erosion going and you have a product like Edge that’s already been applied, well, that’s moving to your neighbour’s farm, and maybe your neighbour is not ready to accept that product.

He says once the soil is gone it’s not an easy fix.

“It takes a lot of time in a farm operation to increase soil back to where it should be. Increasing soil organic matter, for instance, that’s not an easy fix, so a lot of prevention is important.”

He adds reactive measures are less effective.

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Green says the region they live in, in southern Alberta is particularly vulnerable due to lighter soils and high winds – which is why they brought together a panel of producers in their region to help develop the policy.

The county spent over $215,000 on clean-up efforts related to soil erosion in 2021.