A long-standing program that provides ranchers with access to Crown land is being phased out by the provincial government.

The Saskatchewan Pastures Program includes 51 pastures across the province, covering 780,000 acres of land.

While it isn't clear how the pastures will be managed in the future, it appears most of the land will be put up for sale.

Any areas that are classified as having high ecological value will be kept as Crown land. Land that is classified as moderately high value may be sold, with a Crown conservation easement in place.

According to the 2011 Census, around five per cent of the provincial cattle herd uses land under the pastures program.

The province doesn't believe there will be any budget savings from the move this year. The program operates on a break-even basis.

Ministry to consult with public

The Ministry of Agriculture will be holding consultation meetings with ranchers and Indigenous groups. It will also be holding an online survey at the end of this month, to ask users how they would like the province to proceed.

The federal government handed over control of 61 community pastures to Saskatchewan in 2012.

Last year, the National Trust for Canada added Saskatchewan's community pastures to its list of endangered places, due to their ecological value.

The pastures will still operate in 2017-18, but this will be the last year the program will operate in full.