Beefing up supports for Alberta’s ranchers

Post date: Nov 4, 2019 2:55:55 AM

Bill 16 includes much-needed modernizations to the rent and fees ranchers and cattle owners pay government for the use of public lands. These proposed changes will create a system that is transparent and fair for ranchers, while ensuring that Albertans receive fair return for the use of the province’s resources.

If the bill is passed, a portion of revenues would be reinvested in rangeland sustainability initiatives. This revenue would provide annual funding to proactively invest in approaches to ensure the long-term success of Alberta’s ranching industry.

The full suite of proposed changes would help protect Alberta’s beef industry against costly tariffs or the threat of a potential countervail duty investigation by the U.S. Department of Commerce, as the changes in rental rates would eliminate the perception of a subsidy for Alberta’s ranchers.

Changes in rental rates, which will fluctuate depending on the health of the industry, will better reflect today’s economic reality, are also included in the proposed legislation. If passed, these changes would be phased in over five years to help ranchers adjust to new rates after 25 years of frozen rates. Government is also proposing a flat-rate fee for the transfer of a lease, which would remove red tape for ranchers, and reduce barriers to entry into the industry.

“Ranchers play an important role in Alberta – they support our economy and are responsible for protecting some of the province’s important grasslands and wetlands. It’s important that we work with ranchers to modernize our legislation so that the ranching industry can continue to grow and thrive for generations.”

Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks

The current grazing fee framework has been frozen since 1994, and is built on outdated assumptions and data. The proposed framework would better reflect the current economic reality faced by ranchers, and strengthen Alberta’s beef industry. The proposed bill would help build a sustainable future based on sound environmental practices and ensure that ranchers are paying their fair share for the use of public lands.

“Ranchers are an important part of our province, and government is listening to their needs. We’re committed to cutting regulatory red tape to make their jobs easier.”

Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

As part of the proposed bill, government is looking to modernize the framework by removing outdated information, including references to homesteading – a practice used to help encourage settlement in remote areas of the province. The proposed changes have widespread support from stakeholders in the grazing and beef industries, who recognize the need for an updated grazing disposition fee framework. Amendments to the fee framework will not change recreational access to public lands for Albertans, and will not affect existing treaty rights for Indigenous Peoples.

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