Tips for Buying Farmland in Saskatchewan
Are you thinking of buying farmland in Saskatchewan? If so, you’ll find plenty of sought-after acres here. Our province is blessed with a booming agricultural sector, and it boasts a wide variety of land types. That said, locating the right land for you can sometimes feel like finding a needle in a haystack.
Whether you’re a newcomer or a veteran, your farm will be your livelihood—or you'll want it to provide a good return on your investment. That’s why it’s so important to find a property that both suits your current needs and aligns with your future plans. The process can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to make it less stressful.
If you’re buying farmland in Saskatchewan, here are a few things you can do to make your purchase with confidence...
Determine your ability to purchase Saskatchewan farmland
First and foremost, you need to identify whether you’re eligible to purchase more than ten acres of farmland in Saskatchewan. To do so, you need to be a Canadian Citizen or a Permanent Resident. If you are not already a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident, there are steps you can take to obtain such status and become eligible to buy more than ten acres.
Pre-determining your financing for an acquisition of Saskatchewan land should be your next step. Are you paying cash? Borrowing money from a financial institution? If you're financing, then reaching out to an agricultural lending specialist prior to pursuing a farmland acquisition will help you identify your capacity. Lending criteria for farms is different than commercial and residential properties.
Clarify how you plan to use your land
Saskatchewan has some of the most productive farmland in the world, and it’s used in many different ways. Some of the most commonly-grown crops in the province include oilseeds, pulses, and cereals—we’re known as the country’s breadbasket for a reason! We also have a sizeable livestock industry.
Before you create your business plan and start looking for land, you should know exactly what you intend to produce or what type of land you would like to hold in your investment portfolio. You should also be familiar with the type of property that is most suitable for your needs.
As just one example, if you’re planning to use your land for grazing, your water needs will be different than they would be if you were producing grain. Likewise, the buildings and improvements you’ll require on your new property will depend on the type of farm you’re running. If you’re cultivating grain, you’ll need a place to store it—along with your machinery. If you’re raising cattle, sheep, or horses, you’ll need appropriate shelter for them.
If your farmland purchase is purely an investment, you'll need to consider the rate of return you require as well as the type of agreement you're comfortable with. There are cash lease agreements, joint ventures, custom farming, and many other options available to manage a farmland investment purchase in Saskatchewan. Choosing one that meets your criteria and risk tolerance is an important decision.
Regardless of your land-use plans, there will be a hundred boxes to check when you’re purchasing your land, so it’s best to be aware of your needs before you start looking.
Understand soil types & productivity
One of the most critical factors in determining whether land is suitable for your needs is the soil. Different types of soil are appropriate for different uses. Whether you’re hoping for vibrant and healthy canola fields or sufficient forage crops for your livestock, it pays to do your research.
The Canada Land Inventory (CLI) provides detailed information about farmland and its ability to support agricultural land-use activities. Its geographical coverage of Saskatchewan is impressive, so take advantage of this valuable resource. Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corp (SCIC) is another good source for information regarding soil type and productivity. SCIC uses a farmland rating system based on letters of the alphabet, which makes it easy to compare different parcels of land.
Lastly, the Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency (SAMA) provides property assessment valuations. Potential land productivity is one of the key factors that SAMA considers in its assessments.
Ask the farmland expert about their land
When you’re buying farmland in Saskatchewan, it pays to know as much as possible about the properties you’re considering. For any given parcel of land, the seller’s agent is the best person to answer questions about past farming practices.
Ask about annual crop rotations and any herbicides and fungicides that have previously been applied to crops.
Water supply is another crucial consideration, especially if you’ll have a yard site or need to water livestock. Know your water requirements, and be ready to ask about water sources, as well as their production and storage volumes.
Find the right professionals to help
An experienced real estate agent who specializes in helping clients buy farmland can provide you with guidance at every step of the purchase process. They’ll work with you to understand your needs—and find properties with the potential to meet them. They’ll also help ensure that you find out everything you need to know about a parcel of land before making a commitment.
Lastly, the right agent will be able to refer you to other professionals who can make the buying process less stressful. Given how complex farmland purchases can be, it's important to dot your i’s and cross your t’s. Having the right mortgage lender, accountant, real estate lawyer, inspector, and property appraiser can make all the difference.
Buying farmland in Saskatchewan doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. With some careful forethought and the right advice, you’ll find a property that will work for you today, and in the future.
Looking to buy farmland? We know what to look for, and we can answer your questions at every step of the buying process. Get in touch, and we can discuss your needs.
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