South Peace News
Beef farmers frustrated by provincial policies and regulations appear more optimistic with a new government.
Members of the Alberta Beef Producers shared concerns and ideas during an ABP Zone 9 supper and meeting Oct. 25 at Triangle Hall, west of High Prairie.
Grazing leases was a key issue at the meeting attended by about 35.
“Farmers are frustrated by the application process for grazing leases with the provincial government,” says ABP Zone 9 director John MacArthur, who chaired the meeting.
“It’s a two-year process.”
MacArthur is optimistic the new provincial government led by the United Conservative Party elected in April will improve the system.
“The UCP said they want to increase grazing land,” MacArthur says.
“As long as grazing leases are under [the ministry of] Environment and Parks, it won’t work.”
The ABP continues to press the government on grazing leases and many other issues, he says.
“There’s so much they could do to make them better and easier,” MacArthur says.
He is hopeful the new government will add support to the beef and agricultural industries.
“The UCP government seems to be willing to work with us,” MacArthur says.
“We have some different issues in northern Alberta.”
A fact sheet echoes the work of ABP in that direction.
“We have seen positive steps on extended tenure for stewardship on grazing leases and modernization of the grazing lease rental rate framework,” the ABP states as part of its highlights and successes in the past year.
A new program to compensate farmers for predators on their land is also in the works.
“Wildlife compensation has been a bone of contention in northern Alberta,” MacArthur says.
“We’re just trying to develop a different program.
“Hopefully we can make some strides.”
Building relationships with the provincial government remains a top priority for the ABP.
Representatives have had more than 16 meetings with UCP government ministers and MLAs on key policy issues.
“We have developed policies and provided recommendations to the ministers of Agriculture and Forestry, Environment and Parks, Labour and Immigration, Municipal Affairs, Transportation and Red Tape Reduction,” the ABP fact sheet states.
“We are recognized as a strong respectful and knowledgeable agricultural advocacy organization that is frequently consulted on key issues affecting our industry,” the ABP states.
The ABP celebrates 50 years in 2019.
Steps are being taken by the ABP to revitalize, streamline, modernize and beef up the industry for the next 50 years.