Tag Archives: pfra community pastures

PFRA pastures in Sask make National Trust endangered places list

1 Jun

Two articles this week highlighted the placement of the former PFRA pastures in Saskatchewan on the National Trust’s list of endangered places. CBC ran this article and the Leader-Post ran this article, from which the following quote is taken:

The Public Pastures – Public Interest group is quite pleased to see the pastures on the list. The group has been campaigning for years for the conservation of the pastures.

“We’re trying to end up with some form of assistance, some form of guarantee that the pastures will remain publicly owned and managed for livestock producing as well for species at risk, biodiversity and basically continue on the same track that the PFRA system had developed,” said Lorne Scott, co-chair of Public Pastures – Public Interest.

Lands Act Review – Opportunity to Comment

30 May

The provincial government has given people until June 3 to comment on new proposals concerning the Provincial Lands Act. There are implications for community pastures.

The government held consultations in the 2013, then put the issue on the backburner. Now they plan to introduce legislation and are giving people until June 3 to to comment on the highlights of their proposal.

Click here to read the notice of the final stage of consultation and, following, the Provincial Lands Act Amendment Proposal.

PPPI AGM – March 19

7 Mar

We hope you can come out to the Public Pastures-Public Interest Annual General Meeting on March 19!

If you cannot attend in person, your ideas and suggestions are always appreciated via phone or e-mail.

Like any organization, we are always happy to have people come forward who are willing to assist with the individual tasks needed to carry out our work or to participate on the PPPI Board.

The agenda follows and can also be seen here: PPPI AGM 2016 agenda

PPPI Annual General Meeting

Saturday March 19, 2016, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

United Way Building, 1440 Scarth St., Regina, Saskatchewan

9:30     Coffee and registration

10:00   Annual General Meeting

  • Welcome & Introductions
  • Report on past year – Highlights of PPPI activities and achievements  – Trevor Herriot
  • Financial Report
  • Election of Board

11:00   PPPI Roles & Projects

12:00   Lunch

12:45   Grassland photographs, an audio-visual presentation by Branimir Gjetvaj

1:00    “Nature connection and place attachment: Roles of personal attachment and motivation in conservation” – Katherine Arbuthnott

1:30     Where do we go from here?  Current situation concerning the pastures and objectives for the future – Lorne Scott

  • Interactive discussion with audience on current issues and future options

3:15     Next Steps

4:00     Adjournment

An RSVP is helpful but not required for attendance. If possible, to assist with planning for lunch and space, please RSVP to public4pastures@gmail.com or call (306)-515-0460.

A donation will be requested to cover the cost of lunch.

Parking is available in the parking lot North of the United Way building and the entrance to the Community Room is on the North side of the building.

The building is wheelchair accessible.

Earth Day News! Species at Risk Factsheet

25 Apr



REGINA, SK: Public Pastures – Public Interest is honouring Earth Day by publicly releasing a factsheet on Species at Risk on the PFRA pastures.
The pastures are home to over 30 officially designated Species at Risk – mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and plants that are in danger of becoming extinct in Canada.

“Keeping the pasturelands public will help ensure that we can put provisions in place to maintain the habitat that preserves these species for future generations”, said Trevor Herriot, co-chair of PPPI.

The pastures also provide ecological benefits, such as carbon sequestration by the grasses and other plants, and filtering and purifying water.
And, the pastures are also important to people.

“In addition to cattle ranchers, residents of the province utilize and enjoy the use of the pastures”, said Lorne Scott, PPPI co- chair. “This includes hunters, photographers, First Nations, researchers and the general public on educational tours”.

“PFRA Community Pastures have been a significant asset to rural Saskatchewan for decades”, noted Herriot. “Detrimental effects to the pastures would mean that the way of life for the small ranchers, their families and communities is threatened. Privatizing the pastures could mean that First Nations people would not be able to access the lands for hunting and gathering that is their right on Crown lands,” noted Herriot. “In some ways the way of life for the ranchers and the people that practice an Indigenous traditional ways can also be considered at risk.”

“People and animals are part of an inter-related earth community. And the community pastures are a rare opportunity to protect wild species, ecosystems and local economies in a sustainable and healthy community.”

Further Information:
Public Pastures—Public Interest, public4pastures@gmail.com, cell 306-515-0460
Trevor Herriot, trevorherriot@gmail.com , home 306-585-1674
Lorne Scott, lorne.scott@sasktel.net , home 306-695-2047, cell 306-695-745


Good fiscal sense: sound pasture management

15 Nov

Keeping PFRA management actually isn’t costly. From this blog post by Trevor Herriot:

“$4.5 million is a bargain to manage 1.8 million acres of grazing land for the public good, and if we consider that the Province is also making untold hundreds of millions off this land each year from oil and gas revenues (Bigstick Community Pasture has brought as much as $80 M in oil and gas revenue in one year on its own), this grass is providing our Provincial Treasury with an awful lot of cash. The least we can do is spend a tiny portion of that revenue to ensure that our 75 year investment in the ecological integrity of the PFRA pastures will not be jeopardized.”

New Factsheets Available!

16 Oct

Public Pastures-Public Interest has created a series of factsheets on issues relating to the PFRA pastures, written by various local experts on the topics. They have been added to our Resources section, and you can find them here.

These factsheets can be shared widely, and used when writing letters or speaking to elected representatives and other concerned citizens.

ISSUE: In Saskatchewan, management of 1.8 million acres of land in 62 former PFRA community pastures is being transferred from the Federal Government to the Province. This is a land area larger than Prince Edward Island. The Province intends to sell or lease the land to private users, putting public benefits at risk.

PFRA Community Pasture System: Factsheet

27 Jun

ISSUE: In Saskatchewan, management of 1.8 million acres of land in 62 former PFRA community pastures is being transferred from the Federal Government to the Province. This is a land area larger than Prince Edward Island. The Province which intends to sell or lease the land to private users, which may put public benefits at risk.



  • PFRA stands for Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act.
  • The PFRA pasture system was created during the droughts of the 1930s. The pastures were established to rehabilitate and protect the land, to stabilize the incomes of livestock producers, and to support the agricultural economy.
  • These pastures are located across central and southern Saskatchewan, and represent most of the ecosystems in the agricultural regions of the province.

Supporting smaller farmers and cattle producers

  • On average, some 2500 pasture patrons depend on these pastures for summer grazing,
  • Most patrons graze cow-calf pairs. There are about 73,000 cows in the system most with calves at foot.
  • Pasture management ensures that the patrons’ livestock are well looked after, enabling patrons to concentrate on the other parts of their agricultural operations during the grazing season.
  • Many pastures also provide high quality bulls to help improve herd genetics.
  • Pasture patrons pay fees to cover the cost of these services.

Supporting Saskatchewan’s ecology

  • The PFRA pastures include the largest contiguous block of original grasslands in the Great Northern Plains.
  • They preserve landscapes that represent Saskatchewan’s natural ecosystems, from the aspen parkland to the endangered short grass prairie. Pastures are found from Maple Creek to North Battleford in the west and from Kelvington to Estevan in the east.
  • Thirty-one species at risk are found on the PFRA community pastures, and some have only been found on those lands.

 Balancing agriculture and the environment though professional management

  • The number of animals and the length of time on pasture is limited to what the land and the grass can bear in a year.
  • Land management respects the needs of the patrons – and their cattle – and the needs of the other species that depend on the pasture land.

 PPPI: Who are we?

Public Pastures-Public Interest is a citizen-based organization devoted to maintaining all of Saskatchewan’s public grasslands as healthy prairie ecosystems and working landscapes. PPPI was founded on principles of retaining, protecting, and managing the province’s Crown grasslands, including the PFRA community pastures, as vital elements of the public trust every bit as precious as its northern forests and lakes.

Forty-five Saskatchewan, national and international organizations have endorsed PPPI principles for managing PFRA pastures. The Principles are:

Principles for PFRA Community Pastures

  1. Keep ownership of the PFRA pastures in the public domain.
  2. Maintain livestock grazing as a priority.
  3. Utilize professional pasture managers.
  4. Preserve the natural landscapes and ecological integrity of the pastures.
  5. Protect the cultural and historic significance of these heritage rangelands.
  6. Recognize and sustain the investment in the public benefits provided by publicly-owned community pastures.

A Strategy Forward

  • Work with stakeholders to establish an inclusive Transition Plan.
  • Take the time to get it right.

Amazing Video on the Pastures Issue!

17 Apr

Some great work has been done by a group of stakeholders on the pasture issue who have put together a video on the issue.

Here’s the preamble to the video:

“In April of 2012 the federal government announced it was divesting itself of 2.3 million acres of PFRA community pastures, 1.78 million of which are located in Saskatchewan.  The control for these pastures has now reverted back to the prairie provinces and in response the Saskatchewan government has announced they will be seeking to sell or lease these lands to the current pasture patrons.  With rising land values putting the purchase of these lands far beyond the reach of most patrons, exceeding their ability to run a financially viable operation, patrons are looking to find an alternative solution. Other stakeholders affected by this decision are looking to ensure a sustainable environmental action plan for the land is continued, safeguarding the continued health of the ecosystem and the 32 species at risk that reside there.

To help communicate this message, the various stakeholders (Patrons, First Nations, Academic and Wildlife/Environmental groups) have been meeting over the past several months to discuss their common concerns and encourage the two levels of government to reconsider their position on the importance of preserving and sustaining our community pastures. The result is a collaborative and inclusive video showcasing stakeholder concerns and their belief that, in order to ensure a positive outcome for all, they must work together to find a viable solution.

It is their hope this video will also help communicate the message to stakeholders not yet involved and encourage them to join the collaborative effort towards protecting out public interests, and maintaining current and long term sustainable management of our Community Pastures.”  

PPPI Principles To Be Released

25 Mar



For Immediate Release – Tuesday March 26, 2013


REGINA, SK:  Public Pastures – Public Interest is announcing a set of principles and strategies for moving forward to create a secure future for the PFRA community pastures in Saskatchewan.

Wednesday March 27, 2013 at 10:00 AM, Best Western Seven Oaks, 777 Albert Street, Regina

The federal government has turned responsibility for the 62 Saskatchewan pastures over to the Province, which says it plans to sell or lease them. This will affect 1.8 million acres containing a significant portion of Saskatchewan’s original grasslands.

On March 27, PPPI will be putting forward principles to protect the wider public interest during the transition of the PFRA community pastures. The PPPI document, A Vision for the Future of Saskatchewan Heritage Rangelands, is based on discussions with people in the province and scientific research. To date, the principles and accompanying strategies for forward action have been endorsed by several provincial and national non-governmental organizations. Representatives of these organizations will be available for interviews at the media conference.


  • Speakers from organizations endorsing the principles of PPPI, including:
    • Naomi Beingessner, Regina Public Interest Research Group
    • Lorne Scott, Conservation Director, Nature Saskatchewan
  • Presentation of the principles
  • List of the endorsing NGOs

“There is a groundswell of support across Saskatchewan for retaining the community pastures under public ownership”, said Trevor Herriot, spokesperson for PPPI. “The future of the grasslands, its use by producers for livestock grazing and the public benefits the lands provide will be better protected if these principles are followed. This decision will have the greatest impact on these heritage rangelands since they were established 75 years ago.”

Endorsing organizations to date include: Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, the Society of Grasslands Naturalists (Medicine Hat), National Farmers Union, Nature Saskatchewan, ProtectthePrairie.ca, Regina Public Interest Research Group, Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, Saskatchewan Archaeological Society, Saskatchewan Environmental Society, University of Regina Pasture Prof’s.

“Our members have always recognized the exceptional value of the PFRA pastures, including hunting, wildlife viewing and educational purposes,” explained Darrell Crabbe, Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation. “We believe that these principles will help Saskatchewan make the transition to a management system that will conserve the wildlife on these critical pieces of grassland habitat.”

Further Information:

Saskatoon Forum Details Released

12 Feb



Over one million acres of Canada’s most important grasslands

are up for sale! Have you been consulted?

 This facilitated, open forum brings together key stakeholders and the public to discuss the future of our publicly owned community pastures

Keynote:  Thursday, February 28th – 7 p.m. 

Frances Morrison Library, 311-23rd Street E

Candace Savage, the best-selling author of Prairie: A Natural History and A Geography in Blood, will highlight the heritage of the PFRA pastures and their critical importance for grassland conservation.

Panel Forum: Friday, March 1st – 1-4 p.m.

Edwards School of Business – Georgia Goodspeed Theatre (Rm. 18), University of Saskatchewan

A panel discussion on the history and context of the community pastures, ecological and economic benefits, importance for species at risk, and First Nations interests in the land. Open microphone session to follow.

  • Author and naturalist Trevor Herriot (Public Pastures – Public Interest)
  • Prof. Suren Kulshreshtha (Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics, U of Sask.)
  • Ian McCreary (Community Pasture Patrons Association of Saskatchewan)
  • Former FSIN Chief Roland Crowe (Piapot First Nation) and Carl Neggers (SM Solutions Inc.)

Edwards School of Business is located at 25 Campus Drive (enter the University grounds at intersection of College and Wiggins Ave).

Please call 306-382-2642 if you need more information.

 Both events are free of charge – contributions to defray costs are welcome