Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Western Producer piece on protecting the value of the federal pastures

The closest thing I could find to grassland in Tuscany--that is Karen in the pink hat. Skylarks were singing overhead!
[Back from a three week vacation--hence the gap in posts here on Grass Notes. My wife Karen and I celebrated our 25th anniversary (four years late) by travelling to Italy, Corsica, France and the Netherlands with a couple we have known for all of those years.]

So why is it that many of the PFRA pasture patrons are uncertain about the lease and ownership deals being offered to them by the Province of Saskatchewan? A big part of it is economics but many producers, particularly from the Southwest where the culture of stewardship is strong, are expressing concern that if there is not any funding support for proper ecosystem based management, the leasing patron groups will likely end up having to default to poorer management systems instead of the planned rest-rotation cycles that have kept most of the federal community pastures in top condition for both cattle and biodiversity.

Some of these concerns are expressed in an article published this week in the Western Producer. Written by Public Pastures--Public Interest members Josef Schmutz and Katherine Arbuthnott, it looks at some of the wider economic issues that are being carefully ignored in many quarters. Katherine is a professor and assistant dean at the University of Regina’s Campion College, with research in conservation psychology. Joe is an adjunct professor in the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Environment and Sustain-ability, with research in grassland ecology.

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