|Transition for PFRA Pastures Continues|
|Written by Sharon Vanhouwe|
|Friday, 17 August 2012 11:46|
The province continues to work with the users of PFRA pastures on the transition of federal community pastures to patron-controlled ownership and operation.
Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart says there are some patron groups that are ready to go but, he admits there has been some reluctance. Stewart says humans are not particularly well conditioned to accept change, but there are still a substantial number of patron groups who are interested in proceeding as soon as possible. He would like to see 5 or 10 transitions made and that way other patron groups will become less reticent about the change as time goes on.
In the meantime, both levels of government are negotiating a memorandum of understanding that will see federal staff continue to manage these pastures for the 2013 grazing season. That, he says will gave patron groups more time to look into forming legal entities or grazing cooperatives. He says the Ministry would like to deal with groups that are ready and willing to make the transition. Stewart says the size of patron groups varies from 6 to dozens.
Also, discussions are ongoing with the federal government and Farm Credit Canada on options for financing plans for patron groups to purchase their pastures.
Representatives from each federal community pasture patron group were invited to participate in a conference call in July, and each patron advisory committee chairman has been sent an information package on the transition process. In early consultations, the advisory committee had recommended some principles to abide by for the transition and those included ensuring each pasture was maintained as a block and any sale would be based on market values.