Consultations Open on Farmland Ownership in Saskatchewan

History-of-Farmland-Ownership-Timeline

The history of farm ownership laws in Saskatchewan. | Infographic from the Get Informed section of the Farmland Ownership Consultation site.

It’s a topic that fires up debate, almost as hotly contested as issues around pesticides or antibiotics. Should farmland ownership be restricted to prevent foreign ownership or open to all investors?

As of today, the consultation process on farmland ownership in Saskatchewan has started, allowing all interested parties to voice their opinions on farmland ownership rules.

“Consultations with the public will help us understand who should, or should not be, allowed to own farmland in Saskatchewan, specifically pension plans, investment trusts, pension plan administrators and foreign investors,” said Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Minister, Lyle Stewart, today. “I encourage all interested parties to participate in the consultations to help determine what is best for Saskatchewan.”

The process will look to address who should be eligible to own or finance farmland in Saskatchewan, and the specific roles and tools of the Farm Land Security Board, when enforcing The Saskatchewan Farm Security Act.

Right now, in Saskatchewan, only Canadian residents and 100% Canadian-owned entities are allowed to own more than 10 acres of farmland. That meant the 2013 purchase of over 110, 000 acres for $128M by the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board went through. With the current review now underway, such transactions have been paused, including the acquisition of land by non-family trusts (with more than 10 beneficiaries), pension plans and administrators of pension plans.

No matter how you feel about seeing investor strategies in farmland, foreign or otherwise, it’s now up to us to participate beyond ranting at the local coffee shop.

The survey can be completed online at www.saskatchewan.ca/farmland. Those interested can also pick up paper copies of the survey at the Ministry of Agriculture Regional Office or request one by calling the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.

The consultation process will run until August 10, 2015.

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