I am writing in response to recent comments regarding the transfer of federal community pastures.
The statement that our provincial government has not listened to pasture patrons is simply not true. We have been consulting with patrons on a regular, ongoing basis since this transfer was announced last year.
To accommodate the needs of pasture patrons, we have announced several initiatives throughout this process, including:
• The option for patrons to purchase or lease their pasture;
• Funding of up to $120,000 per patron group to assist with business development plans;
• Lease agreements of up to 15 years; and
• The use of fixed assets, such as handling facilities, fences, dugouts, etc., at no cost.
The federal government agreed to delay the transfer of the first five pastures by one year. I fully recognize there are some patrons who would prefer a further delay; however, the timing of the transfer is a federal decision and, provincially, we have no control over this timing.
Furthermore, our government has continued to make pasture patrons the priority throughout this transition. We have been approached by many other organizations, companies, and many producers who are not patrons interested in acquiring these lands. Our response to all of these offers has been the same – patrons are the priority and only they have the opportunity to lease or purchase their pasture.
Our government will continue to make patrons the priority and work with them throughout this transition.
Lyle Stewart - Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister