By Karly Rumpel, AAg, Intern Extension Agrologist, Outlook
Forages and pasture land are an important part of biodiversity and resiliency in Saskatchewan and are key to any livestock operation. As part of the Canadian Agriculture Partnership (CAP), the Farm Stewardship Program has a Permanent Tame Forage Beneficial Management Practice (BMP) dedicated to protecting soils from erosion and improving resilience to climate change through the conversion of environmentally sensitive cultivated lands to perennial forage cover. Under this program, producers can access a 50 per-cent rebate on eligible costs, to a maximum of $10,000.
Sheep producer Royce Lodoen, of Double L Farms near Fox Valley, saw the potential to improve his operation using the BMP and applied for the program in 2019. Lodoen farms 450 breeding ewes, as well as 65 cattle and some grain land with his parents Lester and Laura. The breeding ewes graze at a local grazing co-op during the summer months. However, their purebred Texels and North Country Cheviot cannot go to a community pasture to graze. To increase their grazing capacity, the family decided to seed the home quarter to grass.
“Our goal was to better use the sandy soil on the home quarter,” Lodoen explained. “We want to be able to accommodate our animals closer to home.”
To start the process, the family contacted a Ministry of Agriculture specialist, who helped with determining next steps. When the ideal conditions arrived in 2019, the Lodoens were able to plant their forage seed and saw establishment the next growing season.
An added bonus for the family is that the new forages can provide fall grazing. In addition to using the Farm Stewardship Program, they also used the Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program, which allowed them to maintain ample water supply for their animals, even into the colder months.
“There’s not much to it,” Lodoen explains. “The assistance was a huge help to going forward with this project. We are already looking into the next steps. Once our forage is fully established, we will be looking to the Farm Stewardship Program for more grass and fencing options.”
If you are planning on planting permanent tame or native forage on your farm call the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377 or contact your local agriculture program specialist to see if your operation qualifies.