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Manitoba calls for input on changes to crown land leases

Existing leaseholders would be able to nominate the next leaseholder and sell leases with or without farmland under revised provincial plan
Changes to the Agricultural Crown Lands Program in Manitoba would allow easier land lease transfers. | File photo

The Manitoba government has changed its position on unit transfers of crown land leases and is calling for input on proposed modifications to the Agricultural Crown Lands Program, according to agriculture minister Derek Johnson.

The new rules will partially restore a system where producers can transfer a crown land lease to the buyer of their farm.

Before 2019, leaseholders in Manitoba could transfer a crown land lease under a system known as the unit transfer.

It was popular with producers because it increased the value of their farms. If a farmer owned a half-section of land and had crown land leases for more sections, the deeded land and leases could be sold as a package.

The province scrapped the unit transfer in 2019, creating rules where a crown land lease could only be transferred to family members.

Under the proposed new rules, existing leaseholders can now nominate the next leaseholder.

The province said in a document explaining the proposals, that unit transfers were removed to increase lands available to young producers. 

“Since then, producers and ranchers have indicated that losing the unit transfer provision severely reduced the sale value of their operations, and requested it be re-instated…. Manitoba proposes allowing legacy leaseholders to nominate the next leaseholder, provided the land is not selected through the TLE (Treaty Land Entitlement) process, and does not impact Aboriginal and Treaty rights.”

The 12-page document on the new leasing rules, says that a lease transfer can happen without the sale of a farm.

The document can be found at

As well, Johnson proposed other changes to the Agricultural Crown Lands program:

• Reducing forage lease rents over a few years “to help producers recover from drought and flood conditions.”

• Extending lease terms from 15 years to a maximum of 20 years, when producers invest in forage productivity improvements.

• Allowing 15-year leaseholders to transfer the remaining years of their lease to an eligible third party

The province is asking farmers and interested parties to comment on the proposed amendments to the Agricultural Crown Land Leases and Permits Regulation.

The consultation period ends July 17. 

Comments can be made online, at