Changes for ranchers using public land in the works

Changes for ranchers using public land in the works

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EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – Modernizations are coming for a law dictating how much ranchers and cattle owners must pay the government to use public lands.

Environment Minister Jason Nixon said Bill 16 needs changes so ranchers get a fair deal but also wants the province to get a fair return for the use of its resources.

The current grazing fee framework has been frozen since 1994 and built around statistics from that era.

The Chair of Alberta Beef Producers, Charlie Christie, said the change has been a long time coming.

“This government has been very approachable and they’ve been working with us to try and mitigate some of our concerns and that’s always appreciated. The previous government was a little leery of it. They saw it as an increased tax, which really it isn’t.”

The changes will affect the rental rates and fees farmers pay to use government land for grazing and also allows for fluctuations in the rate depending on the economic situation.

Outdated information, such as references to homesteading, will also be removed and there will be no changes to recreational access to public land.

Agriculture Minister Devon Dreeshan said the changes are part of the government’s promises to cut regulatory red tape in Alberta.

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