Species in need of protection

The loggerhead shrike is one of the varieties of birds that are being protected.

As part of any business, farming has a lot of paperwork and for those agriculture producers in Saskatchewan there is a lot to deal withThere are a lot of forms to fill out for farmers these days 

The South of the Divide Conservation Action Program Inc. (SODACA) has teamed up with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture to help farmers get through the forms as well as explain all of the options they have in reference to the Farm Stewardship Program (FSP) and Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program (FRWIP). 

The programs are funded by the federal and provincial governments under Growing Forward 2, to her Gove financial help to producers who implement beneficial management practices (BMPs) that maintain or improve the soil, water or air quality, or biodiversity resources.

Growing Forward 2 takes over from the previous five-year program that offered similar funding.

The Farm Stewardship Program (FSP) provides Saskatchewan producers funding to implement BMPs in three priority areas – water, climate change and biodiversity.

Krista Connick Todd, a Rangeland Agrologist at SODCA and SODCAP executive director Tom Harrison will be helping producers navigate all of the legalities, programs available and all of the environmental regulations that go with it. 

“We want to promote it a lot,” explains Connick Todd. “There is a lot of critical and important habitat. Over the last two years there has been screening for critical habit at and for species in the southwest. 

She explains that the area is part of the Milk River Watershed so all it is imperative that those in the agriculture industry continue to be stewards of the land. These programs will help them do that,. 

For example, the Farm Stewardship Program, is supposed to help contribute to individual projects’ outcomes: Demonstrated improvements on water quality; Demonstrated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions; Enhanced resilience of the agriculture sector; and Biodiversity maintained.

According to the website, a BMP is defined as any agricultural management practice that: Ensures the long-term health and sustainability of land-related resources used for agricultural production; Positively impacts the long-term economic and environmental viability of agricultural production; and Minimizes negative impacts and risk to the environment.

There are many financial programs producers can access in order to do projects which are needed duo. These fall under categories like Drainage Stewardship; Invasive Plant Biocontrol and Targeted Grazing; Livestock Stewardship; Native Rangeland Grazing Management; Permanent Native Forage; Permanent Tame Forage and Riparian Grazing Management.

Southwest Sask is a hotspot for endangered species habitat and so producers want to officially follow the rules. Connick-Todd explains there are a lot of rare plants but many animals including the sage grouse, shrike, Sprague's pipit, leopard frog as well as being aware of an antelope crossing. 

“We can help fill out that paper work for sure,” explains Connick-Todd who adds areas east of Frontier, Val Marie and Consul are particular hotspots.

She says they have a program where they can find any land location in southwest Saskatchewan and develop a map of sensitive areas and what exactly the regulations are for that particular area.

She says one particularly gratifying project was a near a community pasture and the beef producers want to bring water over to their land from a water source. Because there was sensitive protected areas they had to find a different way than going overland to draw the water. After a lot of work, they developed a spring fed pipeline  with a gravity feed. 

“It’s working well for them,” Connick Todd says despite the fact it was such a headache to overcome the regulations.

Connick Todd is available at 306-671-7656 or through email at westtech@sodcap.com As well SODCAP executive director Tom Harrison is also available at 306-530-1385 or email at ed@sodcap.com

For more details about the farm stewardship program, and other Growing Forward 2 initiatives, go to www.saskatchewan.ca/GrowingForward2.

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