Community Pasture Program
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.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will continue working with the governments of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, which own over 90 per cent of the pasture land, to transition the land to users with a more direct interest and to phase out federal involvement in management.
This transition will occur over a six-year period to ensure that the process optimizes future economic and employment opportunities for the affected rural communities.
Interested parties who want more information about the future uses of these lands should contact the Province of Manitoba or the Province of Saskatchewan.
The following pastures will be returned to the Government of Manitoba after the end of the 2013 grazing season (November):
The following pastures will be returned to the Government of Saskatchewan after the end of the 2013 grazing season (November):
|Lone Tree||Swift Current|
|Ituna Bon Accord||Foam Lake|
In Alberta, the community pasture on Canadian Forces Base Suffield will be closed in 2014. This land will revert back to the management of the Department of National Defence, which will determine its future usage.
The two major objectives of the Community Pasture Program are:
- Objective I: Manage a productive, bio-diverse rangeland and promote environmentally responsible land use practice;
- Objective II: To utilize the resource to complement livestock production.
The mandate for the Community Pasture Program is to conserve the land resource, protect it from future deterioration due to drought while utilizing the land primarily for the grazing and breeding of livestock. The program uses cattle grazing as the primary tool, supported by the latest range management science, to maintain a healthy, diverse landscape, which is representative of the natural functional prairie ecosystems.
The Community Pasture Program is designed to help producers strengthen their operations by providing pastures and a breeding service. Allocation of grazing space is based on a number of factors, the most important being an assessment of need. The formula used to allot grazing space is designed to benefit small producers by allocating grazing privileges in inverse proportion to land owned, leased or rented by clients. Approximately 3,100 producers use the pastures each summer, grazing about 220,000 head of livestock and utilizing over 3,000 bulls in the pasture breeding program. Fees are charged for all services provided on the pastures.