With more than 1.5 million acres of federal community pasture to be turned over to the Province of Saskatchewan by 2018, some producers, farm groups, and conservation organizations are sounding the alarm.

The Saskatchewan government wants to sell or lease the 60 pastures coming their way to the producers who currently use them. However, the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan said the cost of buying the land is too high.

Provincial agriculture minister Lyle Stewart said that the province expects that the majority of the pastures will be leased not purchased. “But we leave the purchase open to patron groups,” said Stewart.

Some groups don’t want to see the transfer take place and worry the move could put the pastures and the wildlife that lives in them at risk.

“We’re told that there will be no drain, no cultivation easement. Who’s going to monitor those easements? Will there be political will to enforce them if anything changes?” asked Jo Schmutz of Public Pastures Public Interest.

The province assured they’ve taken every precaution to look after the preservation of the land and the species that call the pastures home.