United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney says he is seriously looking at the idea of auctioning off more Crown land in Alberta’s North Peace country for farming if elected premier in 2019.
Following a question and answer period at the Rural Municipalities of Alberta fall convention in Edmonton Wednesday, Nov. 21, Kenney said the idea would allow for more productive farming in the region and help with the province’s deficit.
“It would also be a way to deal with growing the economy, turning unproductive land to productive agriculture land in that region of Alberta,” he told reporters.
“It would create jobs and diversify the economy.”
Kenney said the idea stems from a previous policy led by former Progressive Conservative Premier Ed Stelmach.
He said under the Stelmach government, about 100,000 acres of Crown forest land were open for auction. It was purchased by farmers so they could clear and turn it into arable agriculture land.
The region up north is considered a microclimate that is productive despite having a fairly short growing season.
Kenney said he would also look at zero-till incentives, in which zero-till farming can be considered as a method to sequester carbon. It would help offset greenhouse gas emissions, he said.
He said more details on the policy will be outlined during the election campaign. Alberta will have a provincial election next spring.