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Thursday, 10 January 2013 11:18

Feds putting producers out to pasture

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The federal government is in the process of washing their hands of PFRA community pastures. 

The ideals that structured community pastures for ranchers, conservationists and the public are being ignored because of political ideology rather than the needs of the cattle industry. 
I can understand the federal government’s view as it is evident it has no intent of sustaining the current family farm operation in western Canada.  However it is time for the Saskatchewan Party government to stand on its own two feet and stick up for the cattle, ranching and grazing industries. 
Agriculture is and will remain the basic industry in Saskatchewan as the majority of the population in Saskatchewan  is directly or indirectly affected by the sustainability of this industry agriculture — after all we all eat.
Let us not dismantle the structure of the PFRA community pasture system for the sake of ideology.  The majority (we must not forget we live in a democracy) of patrons, conservationists and those affected by these fragile lands realize the benefits, production and profitability of the present structure, now and into future generations. This is an opportunity for this provincial government to step up and keep the lands under one umbrella, it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel.  
Forming new individual identities for each pasture will only cost patrons more money which they cannot afford and is needless, for less benefits and a significant loss to environmentalists, hunters and wildlife and the agriculture industry.
The domain of the PFRA system in many instances was brought into the fold because of the fragile structure of the land. These lands have been successfully brought into production and maintained viable by the proficient stewardship of trained and accomplished managers — stewards of the land and extremely important citizens contributing financially and socially and structurally to our communities. 
The existing system has given many young producers an opportunity to grow their livestock operations in a positive direction, allowing them a valuable start into the agriculture industry. 
Patrons cannot afford to purchase lands and assets which they have already contributed to and in most cases already paid for with pasture grazing fees.
It is time for patrons to come together and let our provincial government grasp the benefits of an existing system for the sustainability of our agriculture cattle industry.
Bryce Burnett, community pasture patron, Swift Current  

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