Rangeland Management in Drought Conditions

Due to the dry conditions, Environment and Parks may allow grazing or haying opportunities on vacant public land.

Frequently Asked Questions about Rangeland Management in Drought Conditions

General Information

Is increasing access to vacant public lands for producers and approving the grazing of other livestock on grazing dispositions a typical response to dry conditions?

  • These measures are only applied in extreme situations where abnormally dry conditions prevail throughout much of the province.
  • Localized dry conditions are a common occurrence in Alberta, but there are usually other options available to producers such as moving livestock or acquiring additional feed.

What other steps are Environment and Parks staff currently taking to support livestock producers?

  • Local agrologists will work with municipal agricultural service boards on extension and education on drought management principles, and to communicate any assistance programs that may be available, for example, emergency stock watering.
  • Local agrologists and range management specialists are also available to advise disposition holders on potential grazing strategies.
  • Local staff will respond to individual inquiries and applications for use of vacant land or to graze other livestock on grazing dispositions. Department staff are empowered to authorize both the grazing of other livestock and short-term grazing/haying.

What Lands are Available

What are some of the vacant public lands currently available to producers?

  • Due to the dry conditions, Environment and Parks may allow short-term grazing or haying on suitable vacant public lands, as well as allowing producers with extra grazing capacity to graze other livestock on their leases.
  • There may be few alternative grazing opportunities on public land, and these may be limited locally.
  • The department is working with stakeholders, counties and local producers to process applications on a timely basis.

What is the process for livestock producers to obtain authorization to graze or hay vacant public land?

  • There may be localized grazing or haying opportunities available on vacant public land. Applications will be considered on a case by case basis as there may be concerns about the suitability of these lands for grazing or haying due to environmental reasons, wildlife habitat, recreation areas, conflict with other users, access, or lack of infrastructure such as fencing and water.
  • Individuals may inquire about and apply for specific lands through their local Rangeland Agrologist's office.
  • Land Management Area Contacts

Can a leaseholder allow access to their lease to another producer's livestock?

  • Yes, a leaseholder may be given approval to make underutilized lease land available to another producer.


Are there any additional costs to increasing access to vacant public lands?

  • There are no additional costs to taxpayers in allowing short-term opportunities such as the temporary grazing of other livestock, or the temporary grazing or haying of vacant public lands. Producers approved to utilize forage on vacant public lands pay a standard fee for the use.

Is there a cost to obtain a hay permit?

  • There is a cost to the applicants who wish to obtain a hay permit: $7.50/ton +GST of native grass or $15.00/ton +GST for tame hay.
  • Applicants who wish to obtain a head tax permit in Zone C will pay $2.05 per Animal Unit Month (AUM) +GST.

Related Information


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Updated: May 10, 2017