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Letters: Unit transfers on Crown Lands never policy

As Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development, I believe it is important and timely to clear up a few misconceptions concerning Agricultural Crown Land Leases and modernization of Crown land leases, legacy leases and unit transfers.

Through 2018 and 2019, in consultation with stakeholders, the ACL Program undertook a comprehensive regulatory review to align future programming with the governments’ priorities and program objectives.

Contrary to recent media articles, there never was a transitional measure to allow one-lease unit transfers. Nowhere, in the past or present Crown Lands Act, are unit transfers enshrined in legislation. As a matter of policy at the discretion of the Department, unit transfers were in some cases allowed and not in others. Unit transfers do not apply in any other rental situation. It is disheartening and misleading when both lease and non lease holders continue to insist they have ownership to something they were not entitled to have.

The Crown Land Modernization Act was passed in the Manitoba Legislature in September 2019. Lease rates on Crown Lands were set to increase in 2014, but the previous government failed to implement the rate increases. Rates were held artificially low.

Family lease transfers were missed in the legislation, so an amendment has been brought forward to allow for intergenerational lease transfers at 15-year intervals. As long as a family member renews the lease every 15 years, the lease stays in the family. As long as a family member renews the lease, it will not go to public auction.

Crown Land forage lease auctions will continue this winter after a successful debut last winter. Fifty-five parcels of land were successfully auctioned to Manitoba producers. Crown land leases which have not been renewed, for whatever reason, will be auctioned to the public on 15-year term leases. This system works and will continue to keep productive land in the hands of Manitoba ranchers and farmers.

Keeping ranch and farmland in the hands of Manitoba producers will help the cattle industry achieve its true potential, as well as help build on our Manitoba protein strategy. The future is bright for cattle production in Manitoba.

Blaine Pedersen
Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development

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