Farming for the Future: Young Farmers at Work in Roseau River Watershed February 16th, 2018

Livestock producers in the Roseau River watershed are farming for the future in partnership with Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD). They are innovative young families enhancing their farming operations with environmentally sustainable livestock management initiatives, like alternative watering systems, exclusion fencing, and livestock crossings.

Alternative watering systems provide livestock with a safe, clean, and reliable source of drinking water. They use a solar or wind powered pump to draw water from nearby water sources. These systems are used to restrict livestock access to surface water, such as dugouts, rivers, and streams. Fencing off dugouts and waterways can reduce the risk of herd health problems relating to direct watering, like fluke worm, foot rot, and other water borne diseases. Exclusion fencing can also prevent injury or death caused by livestock falling through ice or getting stuck, drowning, or suffocating in muddy rivers and ponds. Livestock crossings allow cattle to safely cross waterways without disturbing the natural flow of water or the vegetated area along waterways known as riparian zones. Riparian livestock management protects waterways from erosion, sedimentation, and loss of riparian vegetation from constant grazing. Programs for establishing alternative watering systems, exclusion fencing, and livestock crossings prevent cattle from drinking water contaminated with manure. They also reduce nutrients, like phosphorus and nitrogen, flowing downstream into Lake Winnipeg.

Livestock producers in the Roseau River watershed are looking for sustainable ways to keep the farm in the family. They are recognizing opportunities for lowering the cost of production by reducing risks to herd health and improving water quality for future generations. Local farmers working in partnership with the SRRCD implemented several riparian livestock management programs in the Roseau River watershed. The projects implemented by the SRRCD are initiated at the local level by people whose livelihoods are deeply connected to the landscape. These innovate projects are custom designed to benefit the unique needs of each farm and to improve the health of our watershed.

The Marynowski family installed a fencing enclosure to limit livestock access to their dugout area. The enclosure also includes additional room for bale storage. The family drilled a well at their own expense to provide a reliable drinking water source to their 150 cattle during the winter and summer months. This alternative watering system draws water from the well using a solar powered pump. The system also has an option for allowing the farmer to use a smartphone app for remotely monitoring parameters, like pump output.

The Schubert exclusion fencing project was implemented to keep cattle out of a flood-prone riparian area, which regularly overflowed water beyond the existing fence line. The Schuberts drilled a well, at their own expense, on a nearby ridge and moved the herd’s watering area to higher ground. The family is now looking into upgrading their existing solar watering system by incorporating a wind turbine to better accommodate overcast weather conditions.

The Barnabe family from Woodmore implemented an alternative watering system for their expanding livestock operation with 220 head of cattle. The system draws water from a nearby gravel pit during the winter and summer months.

The Chubaty alternative watering system near Ridgeville is an all-season project, which provides safe and reliable access to 150 calf/cow pairs and is the second project undertaken by the Chubaty family in the last five (5) years.

The Abrams solar winter watering system and exclusion fencing project currently accommodates 30-40 head of cattle. The family is looking to expand their livestock operation as part of a larger farm improvement plan.

The Boileau family incorporated numerous on-farm improvements to their 140 calf/cow pair farming operation. The Boileau’s installed exclusion fencing on three (3) dugouts and implemented a well head remediation project to improve the conditions of the existing well structure.

The success of these riparian livestock management projects have spread throughout the district by word-of-mouth advertising. The SRRCD is looking forward to implementing more projects with local producers throughout our watershed.

The SRRCD provides funding for riparian livestock management projects, including:

  • Alternative watering (waterway protection), 75% SRRCD contribution up to $7,500
  • Riparian fencing (waterway protection), 75% SRRCD contribution up to $4,000
  • Livestock crossing improvement, 75% SRRCD contribution up to $1,000
  • Alternative watering (groundwater protection), 50% SRRCD contribution up to $5,000
  • Exclusion fencing (groundwater protection), 75% SRRCD contribution up to $1,000
  • Grant writing to help you cover 100% of qualifying projects

The SRRCD encourages producers to apply as soon as possible for available funding. The SRRCD is available at our Steinbach office by telephone at (204) 326-1030, or in Vita at (204) 425-7877. You can also visit us online at to download your applications today.