Archive | July, 2013

More Farm Groups Weigh In

29 Jul

Handing over the pastures to the provinces isn’t as simple as it looks. This Leader-Post article elaborates:

“Norm Hall, president of APAS, said the umbrella farm organization would like to see the community pastures continue to be managed by the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration and remain in Crown lands.

“Our position hasn’t changed. We’re still pushing for public ownership.” But Hall said the province should delay the transfer of pastures for a year until some of the issues are resolved.

For example, Hall said many of the community pastures contain federal land, which have to be made available to other federal ministries, Crown corporations and provincial departments, then to First Nations through the Treaty Land Entitlement process.”

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News Roundup

22 Jul

This issue isn’t going away. The news items continue.

A video and article from Global: Farmers say government not forthcoming about community pastures.

A letter from Lyle Stewart in the Star-Phoenix: Patrons priority.

And from the Southwest Booster: Pasture patrons in an “untenable position” as deadline looms, calling for a one-year delay.

A Voice that Needs to be Heard

11 Jul

Article: First nations entitled to PFRA lands:

“I cannot stress enough the importance of our groups working together and forming partnerships to ensure the conservation and protection of our ecological values and the diversity of Saskatchewan’s rich grasslands, as well as to ensure that the Crown meets its lawful obligation to satisfy outstanding Treaty Land Entitlements.” – Perry Bellegarde, FSIN chief

Pasture Patrons Need More Time: CPPAS Release

11 Jul

Pasture Patrons in an untenable position as deadline looms

The Community Pasture Patrons Association is today 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 ten 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 CPPAS .

“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 Sask

“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 especially in light of the list of outstanding issues yet to be resolved by governments. 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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And an article on the issue from the Leader-Post.

 

More Viewing Pleasure

9 Jul

Red Hat Studios went on the Prairie Passages tour and shot this incredible footage.

If you appreciate what you saw, and would like to help our efforts to protect it, please check out our Take Action page.

For the Eyes

8 Jul

Two videos for your viewing edification. The Swift Current & Area News offers thorough coverage of the issues ranchers face with the pastures turnover. Margaret Atwood, Graeme Gibson, and local rancher Bryce Burnett weigh in. The story is the first one in the video.

 

The second video was prepared by Branimir Gjetvaj, a prairie photographer. Enjoy!

Clarifying Misconceptions

4 Jul

PPPI would like to clarify some misconceptions arising from recent news articles (See: Saskatchewan Cattlemen Association chair calls pastures coalition ‘crackpots’, Protecting land legitimate idea – a response from the Star-Phoenix editorial staff, and SCA’s Elford clarifies ‘crackpot’ remark). The further clarification needed regards PPPI’s constituency.

Bruce Johnstone’s article (the first, linked above) says that PPPI is a coalition of groups including PSAC, the agriculture union that represents pasture employees. While we do work with the union and their ad hoc “Protect the Prairie” campaign, we also work with First Nations groups, other conservation NGOs, and the Community Pastures Patrons Association of Saskatchewan. Forty-five organizations have in fact endorsed our principles. However, we have no formal relationship with these groups and certainly no actual “coalition”. We pride ourselves on our independence and our role as the only voice for the PFRA pastures that does not in fact have any ties to someone with a financial interest in their ultimate disposition.