Pasture lands start transition

By Charlene Tebbutt
March 12, 2018 - 12:20pm

The 2018 growing season will see a transition for Saskatchewan pasture lands, as new lease agreements with the province begin to take effect.

The government announced last year that it was ending the Saskatchewan Pasture Program (SPP) and would consult with user groups on future use of the land. The SPP allowed access to government lands for uses such as grazing of animals, hunting and collecting of medicinal plants.

Wally Hoehn, the executive director of Lands Branch with the province’s Ministry of Agriculture, told paNOW that 13 pasture lands in northwest Saskatchewan will begin the transition from the SPP this year. Another 19 pasture lands across northeast and northwest Saskatchewan will transition in 2019, with the remaining 18 pastures in the northeast and south transitioning by the 2020 grazing season.

Results of public consultations on future use of the land found that most people did not want the land to be sold or sub-divided. More than 2,000 people completed the survey last year.

“With these being some large tracts of native grazing as well, I think the public feels more comfortable with those kinds of tracts remaining with the government and under our review in terms of issuing a lease to the patron groups,” Hoehn added.

The province is offering 15-year leases to user groups interested in using and managing pasture lands. The leases will be similar to those offered for use of federal pasture lands, which started moving to patron control in 2012, the government has said previously.

The leases will include provisions for hunting access outside of the normal grazing season as well. Hoehn said the government will have range units supervising the lands and patron groups will be required to file annual reports detailing how they use and manage pastures areas.

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