Pas­ture Pa­trons in un­ten­able po­si­tion as dead­line looms; call for one-year de­lay

The Southwest Booster - - NEWS - SUB­MIT­TED

The Com­mu­nity Pas­ture Pa­trons As­so­ci­a­tion of Saskatchew­an is is­su­ing a pub­lic call for pas­tures slated for clo­sure this fall to be given the op­tion of a one year de­lay al­low­ing for out­stand­ing is­sues to be re­solved.

Pas­ture pa­tron groups are be­ing asked to de­velop busi­ness plans and struc­ture which must be ap­proved by govern­ment by the fall of this year. To date there are many cen­tral busi­ness ques­tions the two lev­els of govern­ment have not re­solved leav­ing pa­trons with too many un­knowns to make sound busi­ness de­ci­sions. Many of the first 10 pas­tures set to close have land clas­si­fied as Fed­eral non re­ver­sion­ary land of which the fu­ture is not de­ter­mined. Fed­eral non re­ver­sion­ary lands are those land which will not be turned back to the prov­ince and may not be avail­able as part of the pas­ture in the fu­ture. For a num­ber of the first 10 pas­tures in Saskatchew­an it has been de­ter­mined that the head­quar­ters are on non re­ver­sion­ary land. It is not rea­son­able to ex­pect pa­tron groups to build a busi­ness case with­out know­ing what land will be avail­able.

In ad­di­tion to not be­ing cer­tain which lands will be avail­able, many other as­set and li­a­bil­ity ques­tions re­main unan­swered. Gov­ern­ments have not de­ter­mined the fu­ture of all as­sets which are non fixed as­sets, in­clud­ing bulls, ma­chin­ery and other equip­ment. Pa­trons wish­ing to de­velop a busi­ness plan do not know if they can in­clude th­ese as­sets in their plan­ning. Govern­ment min­is­ters have as­sured the pub­lic that species at risk will be en­forced on th­ese lands. To date there has been no in­for­ma­tion as to whose re­spon­si­bil­ity it will be to ful­fill this guar­an­tee. In­va­sive and nox­ious weeds rep­re­sent a large po­ten­tial li­a­bil­ity and there has been no progress on de­ter­min­ing how th­ese costs will be cov­ered. In many pas­tures, decom­mis­sion­ing of old wa­ter wells re­mains out­stand­ing with the as­so­ci­ated li­a­bil­i­ties. Pa­tron groups are be­ing asked to sub­mit pro­pos­als with­out all of the as­so­ci­ated risks and li­a­bil­i­ties be­ing un­der­stood.

“Farm­ers and ranch­ers are be­ing asked to put their money and time on the line to save their pas­tures from sale to a third party while gov­ern­ments are not in a po­si­tion to pro­vide the in­for­ma­tion needed to de­velop a plan,” said Ian McCreary, chair of the Com­mu­nity Pas­ture Pa­trons As­so­ci­a­tion of Saskatchew­an.

“Pas­ture Man­agers and PFRA staff who are key to the long term sus­tain­abil­ity and man­age­ment of th­ese pas­tures have been given lay­off no­tices by govern­ment. Pa­tron groups will need th­ese man­agers to be suc­cess­ful yet gov­ern­ments are mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble to pro­vide th­ese peo­ple any as­sur­ance that a job will be avail­able,” said Clint Chris­tian­son of Bracken.

“The com­mu­nity pas­ture sys­tem has been in place for three gen­er­a­tions. It is not rea­son­able for gov­ern­ments to ex­pect pa­trons to pull to­gether busi­ness plans dur­ing the four busiest months of the grow­ing sea­son ...,” said Joanne Brochu a cat­tle pro­ducer and pa­tron from Colon­say. The Com­mu­nity Pas­ture Pa­trons As­so­ci­a­tion of Saskatchew­an (CPPAS) is a newly formed pa­trons or­ga­ni­za­tion rep­re­sent­ing the ma­jor­ity of pas­ture pa­trons work­ing to­gether to de­velop vi­able long-term plans for the sus­tain­able fu­ture of com­mu­nity pas­tures.

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