Land study to reveal effect of easements on value

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Saskatchewan’s agriculture ministry expects to receive a study soon on how conservation easements affect the sale price of land.


Lands branch executive director Wally Hoehn said the study was launched after resolutions passed at Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association and Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association meetings in January.


Those motions noted that conservation easements permanently decrease the sale value of land and asked the government to recognize that when selling crown land with easements.


Hoehn told the SSGA annual meeting in June that officials wanted to know if the premise of the producers’ motions was true.


“There are conflicting theories and reports of what it does and doesn’t do,” he said about easements.


“There’s over 1,100 conservation easements registered with (Information Services Corp.) since they were first introduced, so there’s a good data pool to look at,” he said. 


“Lots of those have probably traded hands once or twice.”


Hoehn said similar studies have been conducted in other jurisdictions, but the markets are different and Saskatchewan data would be more applicable.


A 2012 study in Manitoba compared the sale price of 78 land parcels with easements in western Manitoba to 390 similar parcels without easements. The parcels with easements sold for $41 less per acre.


However, the study also said landowners are adequately compensated for the difference through easement payments.


The lands branch is administering a sale program of protected land through the Southern Conservation Area Land Management Strategy.


About 1.3 million acres of crown land could be sold with easements that contain a no-break, no-drain policy.