Saskatchewan

Oklahoma man fighting to keep Saskatchewan farm

An Oklahoma man says he's overwhelmed by the support he's receiving from across Canada as he fights to keep a century-old Saskatchewan farm in the family.

An Oklahoma man says he's overwhelmed by the support he's receiving from across Canada  as he fights to keep a century-old Saskatchewan farm in the family.

"I must have had 60 calls or more and then e-mails from all different parts of Canada," said Dale Kreimeyer of Bethany, Okla.

Kreimeyer's grandfather homesteaded the 640-acre property in the southeast part of the province in 1909 and the land has been in the family ever since.

Before Kreimeyer's Midale, Sask.-born mother Myrtle died in 1998, she asked her son to keep the farm in the family. The family has continued to rent it out over the past decade.

However, earlier this year, the province's Farm Land Security Board told Kreimeyer foreign ownership laws prohibit him from owning more than 10 acres. He's required to sell at least 630 acres by November.

Since Kreimeyer's story became known, several lawyers have phoned him offering their services free of charge because they believe the law is unfair, he said. "The lawyers said basically the law was to prevent corporations from coming in and not to take homestead farm land away from people," Kreimeyer said.

The provincial government recently replaced the members of the Farm Land Security Board.

They meet for the first time Wednesday and are expected to review Kreimeyer's case Thursday.

Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud told CBC Wednesday he won't tell the board what to do, but he will advise them to make practical decisions

"Common sense would tell you this should have been dealt with," he said.

"This isn't a big issue, doesn't threaten any farm land in Saskatchewan down the road. So all I can tell you is we're certainly going to be looking at that."

There's a middle ground between allowing big corporations to buy up chunks of Saskatchewan and a small family farm owned by a non-citizen, Bjornerud said.