By Kate Jackman-Atkinson, Neepawa Banner & Press
NEEPAWA, Man. — The province’s agricultural industry faces a major challenge when it comes to succession — the high cost of entry. Few other jobs require such a high upfront investment; you don’t need to own a hospital to become a doctor or a school to become a teacher, but you need a farm to be a farmer. The cost of land, equipment, livestock, seed and other inputs is high and only rising. At their recent annual general meeting, Keystone Agricultural Producers, Manitoba’s general farm policy organization, passed a resolution to help combat two problems, with one simple solution. The high cost of entry for young farmers is one problem, while the other is the purchase of farmland as an investment vehicle.
The resolution passed by KAP members last week authorized the organization to lobby the provincial government to look at a five percent levy on farmland sales to any investor who hasn’t been actively farming within the last three years. KAP would like to see the money raised by the levy used to enhance Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation’s Young Farmer Rebate program, which offers reduced interest rates on farm-related loans to borrowers under 40 years of age.