Saskatchewan agriculture minister Lyle Stewart announced today the first 10 federal community pastures to be transferred to the province and to patron-controlled operation for the 2014 grazing season. Patrons (current users of the community pastures) will be given the opportunity to own or lease these pastures.
“Patrons have had cattle grazing these pastures for years; they know this land better than anyone else; they are our best environmental stewards; and they will continue to have access to these lands which are important to their businesses,” Stewart said. “We will continue to work closely with patrons to ensure a smooth transition as they take the steps necessary to operate these pastures.”
The following federal community pastures will transfer to patron operation for the 2014 grazing season:
- Ituna-Bon Accord
- Lone Tree;
- Park; and
These pastures were selected primarily based on interest from patrons, proposals received and consultations and discussions with patron advisory committee chairs. Other factors such as land titles and oil and gas activity were also considered. The 10 pastures selected are best suited for a successful transition to the patrons by 2014.
The Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan are working on a memorandum of understanding that will ensure federal staff continue to manage all 10 pastures through the 2013 grazing season. This will give patrons more time to plan and prepare for this transition and to assume operating these 10 pastures in 2014. Ministry of Agriculture staff will meet and work with patrons throughout the transition process.
“For many producers in this area, pastures are important to their operations,” Chair of the patron advisory committee for the Ituna-Bon Accord Community Pasture Aaron Ivey said. “I believe producers will welcome the opportunity to take more control of their pastures at a local level. This transition can ensure they have access to the grazing into the future.”
There are 60 federal community pastures in Saskatchewan, which will be transferred to the province and to patron controlled operation by 2018. The Saskatchewan Government continues to work with Farm Credit Canada to develop workable financing options for patron groups interested in purchasing their pasture.