Saskatchewan to offer discount option on Crown land


Facing another rent hike in 2018, some Saskatchewan farmers leasing cultivated and “formerly cultivated” Crown land from the province are getting an option to buy the land instead at a 10 per cent discount.

Provincial Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart on Tuesday announced a “targeted incentive” program aimed at about 1,100 eligible leaseholders, offering the 10 per cent purchase incentive on the sale of eligible land until March 31 next year.

Eligible farmers, who can expect to receive notices about the new program soon in the mail, can continue leasing if they don’t wish to buy the land in question, but will see a 45 per cent premium applied to their standard formula rental rate in 2018.

That premium follows a 15 per cent premium applied in 2016, and a 30 per cent premium applied in 2017, the province said.

Out of about six million acres of farmed Crown land under lease today in the province, about 300,000 acres will be subject to the 45 per cent rental premium, the province said.

Also, unlike previous incentive programs, this one applies only to the 300,000-odd acres subject to the new premium, the province said.

Under provincial policy on Crown farmland sales to lessees, sale price can be set through a land value report provided by the province; an appraisal by an accredited rural appraiser, paid for by the applicant; or an appraisal paid for by the ag ministry.

If either the applicant or the ministry has a problem with the value indicated in the report or appraisal, that party can hire a second accredited appraiser. The average of the two values would be used to set the purchase price.

The new incentive program “supports our government’s consistent approach to putting land in the hands of producers in cases where there is no higher public good from an ecological, environmental, heritage or economic perspective,” Stewart said in a release Tuesday.

Thus, any parcel of land previously deemed ineligible for purchase will remain so, the province said.

Grazing co-operative lands and former federal pastures also won’t be eligible for the sales incentive and won’t be subject to the rent hike, even if those sites include cultivated or formerly cultivated land.

Farmers interested in buying leased Crown land under the new program can call the provincial Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377 or find more information and application forms online. — Network


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