Agriculture is one of Lac La Biche County's oldest and most productive industries. The County has tens of thousands of acres of cropland and pasture, especially in the southern half of the municipality. Some local farming operations have been in business for generations.
Agricultural Service Board
The Agricultural Service Board (ASB) is the driving force behind many of the County's agricultural initiatives. The ASB consists of two municipal councillors, three local farmers, and members of the County's Environmental Services department as needed. The board is a partnership between the people who make decisions for the County and the people who work in the field - literally.
What does the ASB do?
The ASB acts as an advisory and advocacy body, reviewing agricultural policies and making recommendations to County Council. It works alongside other groups with sustainable agriculture mandates, such as Lakeland Agricultural Research Association and the Alberta Invasive Species Council.
If you are interested in attending ASB meetings or have a topic you want to bring to the board's attention, please call (780) 623-6739. To find out more about the ASB's recent activities, please subscribe to our InsideAGRI newsletter by entering your email at the bottom of this page.
Programs and Services
The County implements programs that promote agricultural growth and encourage responsible agriculture management practices.
These include programs to protect the state of agriculture and the local environment, while meeting the diverse needs of both producers and ordinary residents.
To find out more please select one of the programs from the menu below:
Take the Cash and Help Your Water Stash!
- Photos courtesy of LARA
What are riparian areas?
Riparian areas are the lands adjacent to bodies of water. Waterloving plants such as cattails and willows thrive there and vary in width depending where you are around the waterbody. These strips of land can be small in area relative to the rest of the watershed but have a big impact on the health and productivity of the surrounding environment.
What are the issues?
Riparian areas can become unhealthy when they have vegetation removed by activities including grazing, mowing, trampling/compaction, etc. This means less forage, less filtering capacity, reduced habitat, and decreased water quality for fish, wildlife, livestock and humans.
What are the solutions?
• Installing alternative watering systems for livestock.
• Using salt and mineral to draw livestock away from surface water.
• Avoiding cropping right to the edge of a water body, keep a buffer of natural vegetation between the crop and waterbody.
• Enhancing deep, binding roots and diversity by planting native trees and shrubs like willows.
• Using temporary fencing to protect highly disturbed areas and allow regeneration of natural vegetation.
• Installing fencing around water bodies to create riparian pasture units.
• Deferring grazing until mid-summer to late fall.
• Considering the area, number of animals and grazing period to ensure plants do not become stressed.
- Photos courtesy of LARA
Why implement these management techniques?
• Overall increase in productivity for your land!
• Reduction of weeds
• Decreased sediment in the water
• Better gains and reduced illness for livestock
• Increased pollination
• Protection of lands from slumping and erosion
• Improvement in water quality of lakes, streams, and wetlands
• Decreased algae bloom events
• Reduced effects from flood and drought
• Increase in biodiversity and resiliency
Funding and resource contacts:
In addition to services for residents and producers, the County believes in programs that raise the profile of agriculture in the community. These programs draw attention to the municipality's rich agricultural heritage and highlight farming and ranching as viable industries in today's world.
Agriculture Appreciation Day is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the work of local farmers and ranchers and is held annually.
The County’s Agricultural Service Board awards two ASB Bursaries of $1,000 each to post-secondary students. The bursaries are available to local students pursuing diploma or degree programs related to agriculture and environmental sciences. The deadline for applications is October 1 every year. Call (780) 623-6739 for more information.
The Association of Alberta Agricultural Fieldmen also offers a $1,000 bursary to Alberta post-secondary. Students must be enrolled in an agricultural or environmental science program. Interested students can visit https://aaaf.ab.ca/ or contact the Ag Fieldman for details.
Farm Family Award
Families who have farmed the same land for a century or longer are eligible to receive a 100 Year Farm Family Award. Proof of continuous ownership by the same family is required as part of the application.
Rural Beautification Award
The Rural Beautification Award is given annually to one farmstead or an acreage in the County whose owners go above and beyond to make their property look good. Residents living outside the hamlets of Lac La Biche and Plamondon are eligible. Judges look for things like landscaping, foliage, water features and decorations. The deadline to submit Award Forms is July 31 every year.
Chemical Sales - The County offers herbicides, pesticides, rodenticides and other chemicals for resale. Residents wishing to purchase these products must own 80 acres or more of agricultural land.
Sale of these products is subject to the regulations outlined in the Agricultural Pests Act, the Environmental Protection Act and the Pest Control Products Act.
Please call (780) 623-6739 to find out more, or view our Chemical Price Listing. Please note that prices are subject to change.
Clubroot is a soil-borne disease that affects cruciferous plants such as canola, kale, cabbage, mustard, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Roots of infected plants develop galls, which ultimately lead to reduction in yield and yield quality. Clubroot is considered a pest under Alberta's Agricultural Pests Act. The disease has been detected in Lac La Biche County.
The County is taking steps to manage the disease and limit its spread. Local fields are routinely inspected for clubroot in the fall. The County's Environmental Services department follows the Alberta Clubroot Management Plan and recommends taking steps like sanitizing equipment and rotating crops to prevent the spread of clubroot.
The County also utilizes a Clubroot Management Agreement to work with affected producers to create action plans for controlling clubroot on a case-by-case basis.
Coyote and Wolf Control
The provincial Coyote Predation Management Program aims to address problem coyotes that threaten livestock. If local producers are having problems with coyotes, they are encouraged to call (780) 623-6739. Environmental Services staff members can discuss prevention strategies and control methods that comply with provincial regulations. The County's new Policy and Procedure is attached: Predator Control Policy and Predator Control Procedure
The Wolf Control Program, in cooperation with Alberta Fish and Wildlife, seeks to reduce the number of wolves preying on livestock. The program identifies areas of concern, and registered trappers are authorized to set traps on those properties. To participate, please read the Wolf Control Program Policy and the corresponding procedure, which includes registration forms.
Are you interested in growing a garden but don't have the space for one? The Community Garden in Alexander Hamilton Park in the hamlet of Lac La Biche has plots available for residents to grow their own plants and produce.
The garden is fenced and has a water tank and a composter on-site. Plots are assigned by the County on a first-come, first-served basis. Gardeners have the chance to utilize one of our raised bed plots for $20 plus GST annually. There is a limited amount of the raised beds available.
Applications are available April 1 and will be accepted until June each year.
Tree Seedling Program
Every spring, the County sells one-year-old tree seedlings to local residents at a reduced price.
Bundles of saplings are great for beautifying your property and adding to the environment in your area. Species and pricing vary from year to year.
UPDATE - The seedling sale for 2022 has now concluded with all available seedlings being sold. Please watch for the next program announcement in 2023.
Equipment Rentals - Agricultural equipment can be rented from the County if it is not available through local commercial outlets. Items range from air seeders and post pounders to flex harrows and live animal traps.
Equipment rental rates are per day or by deposit.
Environment and Agriculture
Provincial Regulations Governing the Activities of the Agricultural Service Board and Lac La Biche County Agriculture Services department:
- Agricultural Pests Act
- Agricultural Service Board Act
- Alberta Noxious and Prohibited Noxious Weeds Guide
- Code of Practice for Pesticide-Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act
- Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act
- Pest and Nuisance Control Regulation
- Soil Conservation Act
- Soil Conservation Notice Regulation
- Weed Control Act
- Weed Control Regulation
The County’s Integrated Vegetation Management Plan is a program for controlling brush, weeds and grass in the County. This includes annual weed inspections and roadside spraying and mowing from June and October. Note that roadside spraying controls only broadleaves and no grasses are harmed or destroyed. The County is required by provincial regulation to control noxious weeds and destroy prohibited noxious weeds. These weeds include Canada thistles, Oxeye daisy, Scentless chamomile and White cockle. A listing of all current designated weeds is available by clicking on the link below.
Free Fence Line Spraying Program
Lac La Biche County offers landowners a no charge fence line spray service to control prohibited noxious and noxious weed infestations in fence line areas to prevent the spread of weeds onto adjacent lands. To register for the program, landowners are required to enter into an agreement with the County for the application of residual herbicide within their property for the control of noxious weeds and/or brush along the perimeter of the property on fence lines and
headlands and into adjacent road right-of-way.
No Spray Program
If you do not want spraying to take place within 200 metres of the road allowance adjacent to your property, please submit a No Spray Application before the end of May each year.
The VSI Program is designed to provide livestock owners with easier access to animal health services. The Agricultural Service Board manages this program, under County Council's direction, to subsidize veterinary care for participating farmers and ranchers. Click here to view and download the VSI Program Application.
Please note: Applicants must reside in Lac La Biche County and have a valid Premise ID to be eligible for the program.