June 15, 2017

Government to Lease Provincial Pastures to Patron Groups

The Ministry of Agriculture will offer current patrons of the Saskatchewan Pastures Program (SPP) the option of leasing the pastures, as the program is wound down over the next three years.  This follows the decision in March 2017 to end the Saskatchewan Pastures Program and consult on future management of the land.

“After considering the input received through the public engagement process, we have determined that 15-year leases will be offered to interested patron entities,” Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart said.  “This approach will ensure continued grazing opportunities and environmental stewardship of the land.”

Thirteen pastures in northwestern Saskatchewan will transition from the SPP for the 2018 grazing season.  Another 19 pastures in the northeast and northwest will transition for the 2019 grazing season, followed by the remaining 18 pastures in the northeast and south by the 2020 grazing season.

The leases will be similar to those offered to patrons of federal community pastures, which have been transitioning to patron control since 2012.  The leases will allow continued access for hunting, including the exercise of rights and traditional uses by First Nations and Métis communities.

More than 2,000 people completed the survey on www.saskatchewan.ca from March 27 to May 8 that sought input on future management of the pastures.  The option of offering current patrons the first opportunity to lease the pastures received support from 70 per cent of respondents.  There was also strong support for government continuing to own the pastures.

“We appreciate the input provided in not only the online survey, but also in the patron gatherings, meetings with industry groups and environmental organizations and in First Nation and Métis consultations,” Stewart said.  “Our government wanted to hear from a wide range of voices in helping to determine future management of these pastures.”

If interested parties, such as environmental agencies, municipalities or First Nations, want to work with patron groups that are unable to lease the land alone, they may partner with patrons to obtain the 15-year lease.

A summary of findings from the survey is attached and full results are available at www.saskatchewan.ca/pastures.  A transition schedule is also attached.