Rangeland Management in Drought Conditions

When drought conditions warrant, Environment and Parks may allow grazing or haying on vacant public land.

Frequently Asked Questions about Rangeland Management in Drought Conditions

General Information

Is allowing additional livestock grazing on vacant public land grazing dispositions a typical response to drought?

  • These measures are only applied in extreme situations where abnormally dry conditions prevail throughout much of the province.
  • Localized dry conditions are common in Alberta, but producers can manage for these conditions by moving livestock or acquiring additional feed.

How does Environment and Parks staff support livestock producers during drought?

  • Environment and Parks provides extension and education on drought management strategies for public lands.
  • In drought conditions local agrologists will 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?

  • During drought conditions, Environment and Parks may allow short-term grazing or haying on suitable vacant public lands. The Department may also allow producers with extra grazing capacity to graze other livestock on their leases.
  • There may be few additional grazing opportunities on local public land.
  • The department is working with stakeholders, counties and local producers to process applications on a timely basis.

How can livestock producers obtain authorization to graze or hay vacant public land?

  • Applications are 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 Environment and Parks office.

Can a leaseholder allow another producer to graze livestock on the lease?

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


Is there a cost to graze 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.

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.

Related Information


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Updated: Sep 19, 2018