VIDEO: CWB obtains permission to buy Saskatchewan farmland: are new grain terminals coming?

The Saskatchewan Farm Land Security Board has granted CWB permission to acquire more than 700 acres of farmland in three Saskatchewan municipalities.

The move has fueled speculation that the company may be planning to build additional grain terminals in the province.

In a farmland ownership exemption order dated May 5, the board granted CWB or its affiliated companies permission to acquire 320 acres of farmland in the Rural Municipality of Eldon near Maidstone, Sask., 200 acres in the RM of Cana near Melville, Sask., and 197 acres in the RM of Vanscoy near Saskatoon.

The acreage covered by each of the exemptions is consistent with the amount of land required to build modern concrete grain terminals with loop track sidings, similar to those currently under construction at other prairie locations.

CWB officials confirmed last week that the company is looking at land in the three municipalities but they declined to say whether land has been purchased.

“You could say we are looking at (the locations),” said CWB chief strategy officer Dayna Spiring.

“Part of the challenge … when we embarked in this new venture after 2012 … was to make sure that we had options and to make sure that we were well situated if and when we chose to move on various pieces of land.

“We do have those options … and we have options in other parts of the country as well and we’re going to work with our investor (Global Grain Group) after this deal closes and figure out where we want to make our next move.”

CWB has already started construction of four new concrete terminals on the Prairies: Pasqua, Sask., near Moose Jaw; Colonsay, Sask., southeast of Saskatoon; Bloom, Man., near Portage la Prairie and Ste Adolphe, Man., south of Winnipeg.

CWB officials have said in the past that they plan to build additional facilities across the West but have not offered clues as to where their next facilities may be located.

Earlier this year, the CWB announced that G3 Global Grain Group would be acquiring a 50.1 percent ownership stake in the CWB.

Global Grain Group is a joint venture between the Saudi Agriculture and Livestock Investment Company (SALIC) and Bunge Canada, a subsidiary of U.S.-based grain buyer Bunge Ltd.

Under Section 84(2) of the Saskatchewan Farmland Security Act, no “non-Canadian-owned entity shall have or acquire an aggregate land holding in excess of 10 acres” in the province, unless an exemption is granted.

The farmland security board exemptions allow CWB to acquire the land listed in the exemption order, despite its majority foreign ownership.

All three parcels are located adjacent to Class 1 rail lines and are close to major provincial highways.

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