Agriculture and Agri-Food Community Pastures

Res #: 15-12A
Number: 15
Year: 2012
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

WHEREAS the Federal and Provincial Ministries of Agriculture are proposing to discontinue the operation of government owned and operated community pastures on Crown owned land; and

WHEREAS the discontinuance will cause a shortage of pasture land for local cattle producers who utilize the community pastures for their cattle operations; and

WHEREAS cattle numbers have been on the decline for a number of years and without a sufficient amount of pasture land will force cattle producers to further reduce their cattle herds; and

BE IT RESOLVED that if the Federal and Provincial governments are eliminating the community pastures that we lobby the Federal and Provincial Agriculture Ministries that the patrons who use the pastures have first right of refusal to either lease or purchase the land as to not affect their operations due to lack of pasture; or create a body separate from the governments to manage the pastures thereby continuing to provide pasture to those cattle producers who depend on them to maintain their herds, or deem the land as environmental reserve for the use of all Canadians.

Response from Honourable Bob Bjornerud, Minister of Agriculture:

The Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, recently announced that the federal government will be transferring control of 60 federally managed community pastures, totaling 1.62 million acres, to Saskatchewan over the next six years. Minister Ritz has indicated that there will be no changes to pasture operations in 2012.

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture is now taking some time to look at what the federal government’s decision means for Saskatchewan. We have committed to working closely with the federal government and industry to determine a path forward. The Ministry is aware that working with patrons and other stakeholders is crucial to deciding on the best way to deal with the changes. The Ministry is considering all options for how to make this transition as smooth as possible. We will be looking to patrons and stakeholders in the coming months to get their feedback. Saskatchewan has a mandate to conserve public land and is well equipped to make appropriate management decisions regarding the social, economic and environmental values of these lands. The Ministry of Agriculture believes that producers are the best stewards of the land.