Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart announced further options on Mar. 28 to help federal community pasture patrons assume operation of their community pasture.
“We have been 100 per cent clear from the start that patrons of these pastures are the priority for our government,” Stewart said. “We have been talking to and meeting with patrons on a regular basis and we are working to be flexible in order to make this transition a success.”
Patron groups will have the opportunity to either lease or purchase their pasture. If a patron group chooses to lease, the provincial government will offer a 15-year lease term.
In addition, the provincial government will provide use of fixed assets to patrons at no cost, provided patrons perform regular maintenance. These assets include fences, dugouts and cattle handling facilities. Patrons also have the option to purchase these improvements at zero per cent interest over the term of their lease, if they wish to do so in order to gain equity.
The sale of these assets to patrons posed a significant increase in costs in some pastures and the federal government has indicated they will be transferred to the provincial government at no cost. Funding of up to $120,000 per patron group is also available to assist with the costs of establishing legal entities, developing business plans and accessing training.
Ten federal community pastures will transfer to the provincial government and to patron operation for the 2014 grazing season. The remaining pastures will be transferred to patron operation by the 2018 grazing season.
“Patrons have been working with the province toward assuming operations of their pasture,” Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association Director and federal pasture patron Larry Grant said. “We appreciate the flexibility and options being provided to make this transition successful.”
“The majority of patrons are also pasture managers and environmental stewards on their own ranches and recognize this is an opportunity for them,” Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association Director and federal pasture patron Howard Toews said. “We recognize and appreciate the province’s commitment to patrons, as well as the time, effort and flexibility allocated to assist with this transition.”
“Cattle producers have proven their environmental stewardship, are the best managers of land, and are best suited to make decisions regarding the future of these pastures which they have been grazing for decades,” Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association President Harold Martens said. “We know this transition is a significant process and we appreciate the provincial government’s commitment to working with patrons to make it a success.”
The provincial government will continue to work with patrons on this pasture transition. For more information, patrons can contact their local Saskatchewan Agriculture Regional Office or visit www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/community-pasture-transition.