By Dave Junk, PAg., Manager, Sales
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture will once again be selling vacant agricultural Crown land through the Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers, IronPlanet.com online auction platform this spring. This auction will be the sixth of its kind and features a mix of cultivated, hay and pasture lands located throughout the province. Bidding opens on February 25, 2019, with staggered close dates scheduled for March 11 and 14, 2019.
Disposing of agricultural Crown land through sale is not new for the Ministry, with the first sales program dating back to the 1960s and continuing on to present day.
The online auction was initially piloted in the fall of 2016. Since then and working in partnership with Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers, the Ministry has held five full-scale online Crown land auctions. There have been more than 81,622 views of lots advertised on the IronPlanet.com website, exposure that would not have been possible through the tender sale format. This interest led to over 5,400 bids and, as a result, Saskatchewan Agriculture has successfully sold 245 parcels of land totaling more than 36,000 acres. The online auction format is simpler and more transparent, allowing more people the opportunity to view, bid, and purchase land.
Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers are stewards of the land and are in the best position to manage land. They are passionate about soil and environmental sustainability. However, there is a delicate balance to knowing when it is in the province’s best interest to sell land. Before any parcel is sold, it undergoes a thorough evaluation. The Ministry looks at whether the land has heritage value, if it is ecologically important, or serves as important wildlife habitat. Future government resource needs, such as sand and gravel reserves or the potential for oil and gas development are also considered. When a proposed sale has the potential to adversely impact Treaty and Aboriginal rights to hunt, fish and trap for food and carry out traditional uses, government will fulfill its legal duty to consult and accommodate obligations, consistent with the Government of Saskatchewan’s First Nation and Métis Consultation Policy Framework.
In some cases, it is in the public interest to maintain ownership of Crown lands. But in cases where there is no higher public good from an ecological, environmental, heritage or economic perspective, the Ministry looks to put those lands into the hands of producers.
The spring 2019 on-line auction sale listing, will comprise of approximately 21 lots available for purchase, totaling more than 4,160 acres. Lots not sold in this main sales event will be re-posted in a secondary sale immediately following sale close. Following that, any lots still available for purchase may be made available in future auctions.
For more information, visit Saskatchewan.ca/Purchase Agricultural Crown Land web page.