Land fees increasing in Saskatchewan

The costs to certify irrigation land, rent cultivated crown land and graze cattle in provincial pastures are all going up in Saskatchewan.

Fee increases were announced today in advance of the March 20 provincial budget.

The fee to certify land for irrigation will rise in two stages this year and next. The cost will increase from $1,300 to $1,650 for initial parcels and from $1,100 to $1,550 for subsequent parcels, said agriculture minister Lyle Stewart.

In 2014-15, the fee will be $2,000 to certify any parcel for irrigation.

Stewart said the increase is the first since 1997 and represents some of the costs involved with extensive soil testing required to make sure the land can be irrigated.

The increase lease rate for cultivated crown land is the second in a three-year increase under a new formula.

It will cost an additional $13.79 per acre to rent this land in 2013, and a total of $33.13. Stewart said the land still rents cheaper than most private arrangements and the province believes there shouldn’t be a huge advantage for its renters over others who rent privately.

The province administers about 317,000 acres of cultivated lease.

The community pasture grazing rates apply to the 52 pastures operated under the Saskatchewan Pasture Program.

The cost this season is rising 14 cents per cow per day and $10 per calf per season. Since most producers talk cost in terms of cow-calf pairs, Stewart said this is the equivalent of an increase from 79 cents to $1 per day for a pair.

Grazing revenue is returned to the pasture program for operation and maintenance.

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