Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

Sask. wildlife lands open for grazing

Saskatchewan will temporarily open about 90,000 acres of Fish and Wildlife Development Fund lands this summer for farmers to graze livestock.

Starting Sunday (June 15) and running until Sept. 15, livestock producers dealing with drought in southern Saskatchewan can apply to graze animals on eligible wildlife land on a first-come, first-served basis.

Producers interested in grazing particular Crown lands can contact their local ministry of environment office. A map and list of eligible lands, mostly in northern and eastern areas of Saskatchewan’s farm belt, can be viewed on the ministry’s web site. Lands will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Producers will be responsible to provide any required temporary fencing or water improvements, the province said.

“Conditions have been established to ensure habitat is protected on any lands that are grazed,” Environment Minister Nancy Heppner said in a release Thursday.

“Although opening wildlife land to grazing will help producers, that access must be balanced with the need to protect the long-term health of the habitat.”

Fish and Wildlife Development Fund lands are bought by the province using funds from sales of hunting and fishing licences, and are managed to maintain or improve wildlife habitat.

“Given the dry conditions in southern Saskatchewan, good pasture land for cattle is in short supply,” Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud said in the province’s release. “We are very thankful for this partnership, which will help relieve some of the pressure producers in drought areas are facing.”

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