Hay River, N.W.T., acquires farm land from territory
Town will set aside about 120 hectares for agricultural use
The Town of Hay River, N.W.T., is getting back a large parcel of land which is being set aside for agricultural use.
The land is within the town boundaries and is prime real estate for farming. The area was the former site of "Northern Pork" – a failed attempt at pig farming in the late 1990s.
The town recently reacquired the land from the territory after it forgave longstanding taxes owed on the property.
"We’re now in the process of how to make use of it – what we are going to do with it," said Hay River Deputy Mayor Andrew Cassidy.
Territorial Farmers Association president Jackie Milne has high hopes for the land.
"This particular site, there’s a lot of advantages," said Milne. "It’s by the river so it has water. It has low lands; it even has a bank. Orcharding could be done – berry orchards. There’s some high land, maybe small-scale grazing."
The town said there are 300 acres (about 120 hectares) of available land in the site.
"We have producers that have expressed interest in larger plots of land and we have producers that say 'we don't need a large plot, we need something small and manageable,'" said Cassidy.
Now, the town is asking the federal government for money so they can come up with a local agriculture strategy. Some local farmers see this as an opportunity to foster a less industrial approach to agriculture.
The town also hopes it will bring some new life to its farming community.
"If we have new land that is available for farming, we're hoping we can maybe attract new people to our community that may be interested," said Cassidy.
"Or that people that are here currently and are having a hard time getting started because they just don't have access to the land they would like to, maybe we could get something going."
It’s unlikely any farming will be done this summer due to the large amount of paperwork to be done, as well as the need to clear the land.