The leader of the McCraney PFRA Community Pasture committee patrons group is not willing to sign a lease agreement with the province unless it secures the non-reversionary land on the pasture for them.
Dean Palmer, chairman of the McCraney patrons group, said they were told on Nov. 29 that they won’t be able to own the yard site for the pasture that sits on non-reversionary land for a while. He said this is because the federal and provincial government has not come to terms on what they’re going to do with the land, which makes it tough on them to take control of the pasture when they don’t know who is going to secure the land rights to the non-reversionary piece.
“We’ve seen a draft lease and we’re supposed to be getting the official lease within two weeks, which is what the powers that be told us,” said Palmer. “We’re kind of waiting for that and see what happens then. I’m hoping there is some negotiation after that.
“The biggest thing for me is to get it spelled out properly how the non-reversionary land will be handed down once it does get put in place. The second issue is the bull issue. We’ve got money in place to buy the bulls, but we’re fighting too. They want us to buy the bulls now and we feel we need a full bull evaluation come spring to pay them in full and they’re balking at that as well.”
Palmer said they had 37 bulls and have cut out six already just by simple observations in the fall processing of the bulls, but they are not going to have a chance to do actual semen evaluations before they buy them making the patrons go into the sale “blind.” He said the land lease is not likely to “change a whole bunch” as the province doesn’t appear willing to negotiate, but the group’s power there lies in the fact the Saskatchewan and Canadian Governments don’t have their cards in order for the non-reversionary land.
“They do know that is important for our manager and his family and we’ve expressed interest in that already,” he said. “We were told way back on Nov. 17 that we were going to have a lease on that quarter because they had done a land swap with the federal government and everything was basically a done deal. When I asked for that written down on paper Mr. Hoehn, Wally Hoehn, said that you’ve got 17 witnesses. There were 17 people at the meeting that day and he said there are 17 witnesses here that will vouch for me.
“Then I get a call on (Nov. 29) saying that nothing can be done, so that is kinda a bit of a game-changer for us right now because our manager and his family are pretty important to us and our community.”
Wally Hoehn, executive director of Lands Branch with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, said the province has not acquired the non-reversionary land on the McCraney PFRA Community Pasture. He said they were trying to acquire it, “particularly the home quarter because we see it as an operationally critical chunk,” but have not been able to as it has not yet gone through the federal process.
“We have a proposal with the federal government to exchange some other Crown land that we have for critically operational land in those pastures (with non-reversionary land),” said Hoehn. “The federal government does have a process though that they have to follow through in terms of this non-reversionary land and so in the interim we do have agreements with the federal government that allow us to lease the non-reversionary land to include it in our lease to the patrons. So in effect we’re leasing it from the federal government and that lease that we have with them allows us to sublease it to the pasture patrons.
“If there is a lease for the McCraney group to sign next week it will include the non-reversionary land. Now the term of that land is a little different. You know (provincial) leases are for 15 years. The term of the non-reversionary land is undefined until the federal government gets it through the process, so we’re just waiting for that process to be finalized.”
To read more please see the December 9 print edition of The Davidson Leader.