Agriculture Minister David Marit stopped in at the Saskatchewan Beef Industry Conference in Saskatoon this morning.

Marit announced that the Province is freezing the 2023 rate charged to producers who lease Crown grazing land. 

Saskatchewan's Crown grazing rates are established annually using a formula based on fall cattle prices and the long-term stocking rate of each parcel of land. 

This year's rate freeze will apply to all grazing leases across the province.

Marit also announced that lessees who must reduce stocking rates on crown grazing leases due to dry conditions will also be eligible for a rent reduction in 2023.

"You know, obviously we still see in the southwest there's some concerns with moisture levels and how that might play out for the year. So we thought we'd be proactive and that's kind of where we're at in announcing that we'd freeze the rates for the 2022 level rather than moving them."

He notes while there is snowpack in some areas adding it's not just a concern about moisture, but also on the waterside for dugouts on some of these pastures.

Last year's dry conditions in the southwest resulted in some producer groups pulling animals out early due to deteriorating water and grass conditions in order to prevent overgrazing on the pastures.

With that in mind, Marit also announced a rent reduction for the individual lessee or pasture associations that reduce the number of animals grazing Crown leases by 20 per cent or more, compared to the approved long-term carrying capacity of the land. 

The 2023 rate reduction will match the reduction in carrying capacity every day, ranging from a 20 per cent rate reduction up to a maximum of 50 per cent.

Marit notes the rate reduction also has a revenue implication for the province.

If producers do need to implement the rate reduction, it could end up costing the province anywhere from one to three million dollars in lost revenue.

Saskatchewan has about six million acres of Crown land under grazing leases.

Marit says overall, he's hopeful producers won't need to use the program, but wants to be proactive.