The Ministry of Agriculture has released its plan for the wind down of the Saskatchewan Pastures Program.

The Saskatchewan Pastures Program consists of approximately 780,000 acres located at 50 sites throughout the province.

Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart says after considering the public input they received they will wind down the program over a 3 year period.

"We've determined that the pastures will be offered to the patron groups on 15-year leases," Stewart said. "Very similar to the process that was followed under the transition of the former federal PFR pastures to the patron groups."

The option of offering current patrons the first opportunity to lease the pastures received 70% support from respondents during a public consultation process.

"The first step for the patron's groups to establish legal entities, either corporations or cooperatives, like the patrons did in the PFR transition," he stated. "They will have to decide how they're going to operate exactly and they will have to elect some officers to represent the entity. That entity will be offered the 15-year leases."

Thirteen pastures in the northwest will transition for the 2018 grazing season, another 19 in the northeast and northwest will transition for the 2019 grazing season, followed by the remaining 18 pastures in the northeast and southern part of the province for the 2020 grazing season.

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