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Alta. simplifies Crown land access for bison

Bison producers wanting access to Alberta public land for their animals to graze will no longer need to draft a management plan in advance.

The provincial sustainable resource development (SRD) department, in a bulletin Friday, said bison producers may now get approval by way of a letter from an SRD professional agrologist.

Bison producers will still be required to obtain a grazing lease, licence or permit, as do other livestock producers, the province said.

Bison grazing on public land also must take place on “wildlife-permeable” fenced agricultural lands, and the land must already be identified and allocated for long-term grazing, the province said.

There are currently about 60,000 acres of Crown land made available for bison grazing through SRD, the province said.

SRD said the move is in line with its pledge to “provide access to long-term, secure grazing for agricultural users while professional agrologists review and address stewardship considerations.”

“The revised approach that we’ve agreed upon with SRD is a prime example of how this type of forward-thinking collaboration can improve efficiencies,” said Bison Producers of Alberta chairman Tom Olson, a producer at Bragg Creek, west of Calgary.

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