Land in the Peace River area could be put up for auction, Jason Kenney says
By Diego Flammini
A change in government could lead to increased farmland availability in Alberta.
If the United Conservative Party (UCP) can unseat Rachel Notley’s NDP government in the spring, the new government would consider putting Crown land in Peace River County up for auction, UCP leader Jason Kenney said.
“It’s something I’m seriously looking at … to generate some Crown asset sales to help deal with our deficit, but also as a way to grow the economy by turning what is currently unproductive land into productive agricultural land,” he told the Rural Municipalities of Alberta Wednesday, the Edmonton Journal reported.
“Through incentives on zero-tillage farming, that kind of land can also be a net carbon sink to help us with our (greenhouse gas) emission targets.”
The land is located about 490 km (304 miles) orthwest of Edmonton.
The prospect of increased access to Alberta farmland is good news, said Lynn Jacobson, president of the Alberta Federation of Agriculture.
But the government must make sure they are going about their business in the right way, he added.
“I’m not too familiar with the land in that region but, as long as the land is decent and can be productive, I think it’s a good idea,” Jacobson said to Farms.com. “I just hope the government would be transparent about how it’s putting the land up for auction and will make sure everyone has an opportunity to participate in the auctions.”
Kenney wouldn’t be the first Alberta premier to sell off Crown land for ag production.
During Ed Stelmach’s time as premier (2006 to 2011), he auctioned off about 100,000 acres of Crown land. Farmers purchased and cleared the land, and continue to produce food on it today.