Farm groups say changes to trespassing laws will protect bio-security

By Nigel Maxwell
November 29, 2018 - 12:00pm

Organizations that represent Saskatchewan grain farmers and ranchers say they support changes to the province's trespassing legislation which will put the onus on the person visiting the property to get permission.

The bill was introduced on Tuesday. Todd Lewis, President of the Agricultural Producers of Saskatchewan, told farmnewsNOW the changes are justified given the growing concerns around clubroot, invasive weeds and livestock diseases.

"We need to have traceability of who's on our land and when they are going to be there and what they are doing when they are there," he said.

What the legislation does not explain in detail, is the method in which people like hunters should use to acquire permission from land owners. Lewis said he would like to see a system put in place which would make it easy for hunters to contact property owners. He added with today's technology, an easy application could be developed.

"If producers are maybe interested in allowing hunters to enter their property, they could have their phone number and name on a cellphone application," he said.

Rick Toney, Chair of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association (SCA), told farmnewsNOW, technology has made it very simple for a hunter to contact a property owner.

"All your R.M. maps are online so if I'm going to go hunting in a specific district I can easily look up the R.M. maps and see who owns the land," he said.

Toney added one suggestion he put forward is for all the RMs, when they send out their tax notices, to include a little card asking whether that person is willing to let the rural municipality to give out their phone number.

The provincial government indicated plans to do significant public awareness about these changes in the coming months and Justice Minister Don Morgan said he expects the bill to pass sometime next year. Toney, who brought up the idea for the changes three years ago at Agribition, said he was glad to see the provincial government take action on it. He echoed Lewis's concern regarding bio-security, and said it is far too easy for diseases like leafy spurge or hoof-and-mouth disease to be carried from property to property.

"As a steward of that land, it is my responsibility to keep that land in pristine condition and to protect it and keep it for the future generations," Toney said. "The people in the city are nice people but they don't understand the challenges we have with noxious weeds and invasive species."


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On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell

Lewis re-elected APAS President

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