Man­i­toba pas­tures ben­e­fit at $13 mil­lion an­nu­ally

Moose Jaw - - News - By Ron Wal­ter For Moose Jaw Ex­press

let­ters@mjv­ex­ or 888-241-5291 When the fed­eral gov­ern­ment turned over two mil­lion acres of PFRA com­mu­nity pas­tures to the prov­inces of Man­i­toba and Saskatchewan four years ago, each prov­ince took a dif­fer­ent ap­proach.

The ap­proaches were based purely on po­lit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy. Saskatchewan chose to pri­va­tize the 60 plus com­mu­nity pas­tures within its bor­ders.

Man­i­toba, then gov­erned by the New Democrats, chose to con­tinue 20 pas­tures with 350,000 acres as con­tin­ued com­mu­nity pas­tures.

A re­cent study by the As­so­ci­a­tion of Man­i­toba Com­mu­nity Pas­tures re­vealed the gov­ern­ment-op­er­ated pas­tures pro­vide $5.67 mil­lion an­nu­ally in for­age value with $4.7 mil­lion in car­bon se­ques­tra­tion ben­e­fits.

Value of ecosys­tem ben­e­fits was pegged at $13.3 mil­lion a year by the study.

The As­so­ci­a­tion of Man­i­toba Com­mu­nity Pas­tures op­er­ates 20 pas­tures with 350 pa- trons.

Saskatchewan had planned to sell, or lease, all of the PFRA pas­tures with pa­trons hav­ing first op­tion.

None of the pa­tron groups could af­ford to op­er­ate by pay­ing the mar­ket price for the large parcels of land, so the prov­ince’s five-year plan in­volves leas­ing the pas­tures with con­di­tions: no break­ing land for cul­ti­va­tion and con­ser­va­tion ease­ments.

Ron Wal­ter can be reached at ron­joy@ sask­

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