Livestock & Roadside Haying

Grazing in Roadside Ditches

Grazing in roadside ditches is prohibited unless authorized by Council resolution. County Administration will facilitate livestock grazing in County road ditches in times of severe drought for the year authorization is provided. This resolution is reviewed on a year to year basis. Roadside grazing has been approved for 2023.

  • The requests will be reviewed and a pre-site inspection will be conducted to ensure the location is suitable for livestock grazing and does not pose a public safety concern.
  • Those persons receiving permission to graze in a County ditch will be required to enter into an agreement with Red Deer County which will include but not be limited to an indemnity agreement with the County.
  • County issued warning signage must be placed on the road at both ends of the grazed area. Deposits of $100 per sign and the number of signs required will be determined at the pre-site inspection.
  • The applicant will be responsible for noxious and prohibited noxious weed control in the requested area during the time period that the permission has been granted.
  • Grazing is permitted only during daylight hours; and livestock must be removed each day by the end of the daylight hours.
  • Grazing permits will expire on October 15 of the year the permit was granted.
  • Requestee's will be required to supply proof of comprehensive general liability insurance with limit of no less than $5 million with Red Deer County listed as co-insured before entering into the License to Occupy agreement with Red Deer County.

For more information, or to apply for a Roadside Grazing permit, contact Agriculture Services at 403.342.8654 or


The livestock farming operations within Red Deer County are extremely diverse in size, focus and management. According to the 2016 Census of Agriculture Red Deer County is home to over 136,000 head of cattle, 5,300 sheep, 52,000 pigs and 3,600 horses, plus numerous other livestock including goats, lamas, elk and bison to name a few. Cow Herd

Agriculture Services is available to support local farmers and ranchers with different areas of their livestock management. 

Red Deer County operates within the terms of the Animal Health Act.

Stocking Rates & Management Practices

Along with proper grazing management, adequate rest after grazing and grazing during the correct time of year, appropriate stocking rates are critical for sustained pasture productivity. The optimum number of animals on a pasture makes efficient use of the forage and still leaves enough forage behind to allow a quick and complete recovery. 

No matter what type of livestock is owned there is an environmental responsibility associated with that ownership. For more information on stocking rates and management practices, refer to Alberta Agriculture & Forestry. Available information includes:

There are numerous producer groups and livestock organizations which can also be great resources with becoming more familiar with the challenges and solutions to environmental concerns.

Livestock Response Unit

Red Deer County's livestock response unit is the first unit of its kind in Alberta. The response unit is stocked with equipment and supplies to assist in the containment, movement and management of livestock in emergency or disaster situations.

Visit our Protective Services - Technical Rescue Task Force page for more information.

Farming Operations & Educational Opportunities

Red Deer County proudly supports Ladies Livestock Lessons and the Ranching Opportunities Conference on an annual basis. 

Ladies Livestock Lessons is a hands’ on learning and networking event for ranching women featuring seminars, guest speakers, and specific information for ranching operations. The Ranching Opportunities Conference is a one day seminar with the goal of providing producers and students with up to date information to help them with their ranching operation.

Red Deer County residents are eligible for the Agricultural Sponsorship Training Rebate - see the Education and Awareness page for rebate information.

Roadside Haying Program

Red Deer County residents who wish to harvest hay from Red Deer County roadsides must submit a request form to Agriculture Services by May 1 each year. Please note that grazing is not permitted in Red Deer County roadsides, unless approved by Council resolution.

Program requirements include:

  • The hay harvested must be for the Red Deer County residents’ personal use only.
  • Roadside Haying Request forms must be received by Agriculture Services by May 1; a new request is required each year.
  • Cutting must be completed no later than August 1, and the bales are to be removed from the ditch no later than 72 hours after the bailing, or by August 15, whichever occurs first.
  • Prohibited-noxious and noxious weed control in the haying permit area is the responsibility of the permit holder for the duration of the request.
  • The permit holder must supply evidence of general liability insurance coverage of not less than $2 million per incident.

Note: Red Deer County does not issue haying permits for primary and secondary highway right-of-ways; please refer to Alberta Transportation - Cutting Hay requirements.

Hay Bales

How We Can Help

Red Deer County Agricultural Services assists landowners and producers with livestock management issues by:

  • providing information, inspections, referrals and advice,
  • administration of the Roadside Haying program, Compound 1080 Tablets and;
  • supporting educational opportunities.