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Government of Canada to Transfer First Five Community Pastures
Ottawa, Ontario, August 17, 2012- The Governments of Canada and Manitoba are finalizing an agreement on the first five community pastures to be transitioned as part of the wind down of the federal Community Pasture Program. The federal government will also extend grazing in the first round of pastures to be divested to both Manitoba and Saskatchewan, by one year, until the end of 2013.
"Our Government has worked closely with the Government of Manitoba to make the transition as smooth as possible for producers," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "This transfer is a great opportunity for those with a more direct stake in the usage of the land to take over the pasture management."
The management of the following pastures will return to the provincial government at the close of the 2013 grazing season (November):
The Government of Canada is negotiating Memorandums of Understanding with the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan that will see AAFC staff continue to work for the 2013 grazing season on the first round of pastures to be divested. This will give Manitoba and Saskatchewan the time needed to further consult pasture users and others in preparation for managing these lands for the 2014 grazing season and beyond. Negotiations continue with the Province of Saskatchewan regarding the first round of Saskatchewan pasture divestitures.
The Community Pasture Program is a land-management service provided on 85 pastures in the Prairie provinces. It was created in the 1930s to reclaim land that was badly eroded during the Prairie drought. Today, the program has achieved its original goal, having returned more than 145,000 hectares of poor-quality cultivated lands to grass cover, significantly improving the ecological value of these lands and helping to increase the productivity of the area.
AAFC will continue working with the Governments of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, which own over 90 per cent of the pasture land, to transition the land to users with a more direct interest and phase out federal involvement in management.
This transition will occur over a six-year period to ensure the process optimizes future economic and employment opportunities for the rural communities affected.
Interested parties who want more information about the future uses of these lands should contact the Provinces of Manitoba or Saskatchewan.
For more information, media may contact:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Director of Communications
The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
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