The Manitoba government is asking for public feedback on proposed changes to the Agricultural Crown Lands Leases and Permits Regulation that would support improving forage productivity, growing the livestock industry, and advancing sustainability.
“Agricultural Crown lands are used by approximately 1,750 forage leaseholders on 10,750 leased land parcels, primarily for grazing and haying, supporting nearly 90,000 cattle for the grazing season,” said Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson. “The Agricultural Crown Lands Program supports sustainable expansion of livestock herds, contributes to ecological goods and services, and provides mitigation and adaptation to climate change. In particular, many Indigenous Peoples use these lands for traditional purposes and to exercise treaty rights.”
Manitoba agricultural Crown lands (ACL) are parcels of land vested to Manitoba that the government leases to producers for agricultural use, including grazing, haying or annual cropping. Agricultural Crown lands are important public assets economically, environmentally and socially. Agriculturally, these Crown lands are essential to supporting and growing the livestock industry in Manitoba, and provide mitigation and adaptation to climate change, the minister noted.
The Manitoba government began modernizing the ACL program in 2017 in order to strengthen the livestock industry, enhance productivity, and encourage growth. The revamped ACL program also aims to increase access for young, new and Indigenous farmers.
In 2019, the ACL program was updated significantly to enable ACL leases to be allocated by auction and to set rents at market-based rates. Lease terms were set at 15 years and the ability to transfer a lease with the sale of private property was eliminated.
The new proposed amendments to the ACL Leases and Permits Regulation include:
- reducing forage lease rents over the next several years to help producers recover from drought and flood conditions in recent seasons;
- extending lease terms by five years to a maximum of 20 years from 15 years when producers invest in forage productivity improvements;
- enabling 15-year leaseholders to transfer the remaining years of their lease to an eligible third party;
- developing a process that could enable legacy leaseholders to transfer their ACL to a third party by nominating the next leaseholder, if the ACL is not selected under Treaty Land Entitlement and does not impact Indigenous treaty rights;
- including non-profit Indigenous organizations to be eligible to hold forage leases, in addition to the bands that are already eligible; and
- formalizing the process for assessing land productivity used to determine rent to create an incentive to manage the land and invest in its productivity.
Proposed amendments to the ACL Leases and Permits Regulation will be posted for a 45-day consultation from today until July 17. Feedback can be provided at reg.gov.mb.ca.
For more information on agricultural Crown lands, visit gov.mb.ca.