If you make use of a community pasture get ready for some changes that you will have the opportunity to be a part of.
The Government of Saskatchewan has announced it will be consulting with federal pasture patrons on the transition of federal community pastures to patron-controlled ownership and operation.
“We have said all along that the patrons of these pastures are the priority for our government throughout this transition,” Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart comments. “Our goal is to ensure patrons are able to continue using these lands and we want to give them every opportunity to have input about the transition of their pastures.”
While these consultations continue, the Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan are working to ensure patrons are able to utilize these pastures for grazing in 2013. Both governments are negotiating a memorandum of understanding that will see federal staff continue to manage these pastures for the 2013 grazing season.
Following the federal government’s decision to discontinue the Community Pasture Program, Saskatchewan established an advisory committee made up of industry leaders and cattle producers. The advisory committee recommended the following principles form the framework for this transition:
• Pasture patron groups will have the opportunity to own and operate each pasture;
• Each pasture will be maintained as a complete block;
Sales will be based on market values; and
• Any sale of native prairie land will be subject to no-break and no-drain conservation easements.
Representatives from each federal community pasture patron group were invited to participate in a conference call in July, and each patron advisory committee chairman has been sent an information package on the transition process.
“We have had numerous inquiries by patron groups who are interested in owning and operating these pastures,” Stewart adds.
“I encourage all pasture patron groups to look into forming legal entities or grazing co-operatives in order to transition these pastures into their hands.”
Discussions are ongoing with the federal government and Farm Credit Canada on options for financing plans for patron groups to purchase their pastures.