At Home: Bay Street and Aboriginal merger creates largest Canadian farming operation
The launch of a vast one-million-acre farming operation was announced in Saskatoon on March 26 by a partnership once seen as unlikely: Bay Street investors and Aboriginal leaders.
As the Globe and Mail reports, a group of chiefs from Alberta and Saskatchewan announced the deal, one that will make the partners ?the most influential farmers in all of Canada, with a super-sized one-million-acre operation that could rival the largest corporate farms in the world.?
The plan will see 17 native bands lease their land to the One Earth Farms Corporation. One Earth is a new organization whose focus will be to farm in an environmentally responsible way, to hire and train Aboriginal employees, and to provide an equity stake in the company for First Nations.
Part of the project’s funding ($27.5 million) is being provided by the Toronto-based Sprott Resources Corp. As well, Sprott Resources? founder will ?donate $1-million to the University of Saskatchewan to create a scholarship fund for aboriginal students to study agriculture.?
The project’s farm operations will be spread out in separate pods of around 20,000 acres each, and will include grain and oilseed cultivation as well as cattle ranching. Although the entire one million acres won’t be signed over during the first year, One Earth ?will instantly be among the biggest players? in Canada’s multi-billion dollar farming sector.
In Foreign News: US House of Representatives expands wilderness protection
Many Americans can breathe a little easier this week as the House of Representatives voted to grant wilderness status to two million acres of public land. The newly protected wilderness areas are in nine states, including California and West Virginia, and the move represents the ?largest expansion of protected national wild lands in 15 years,? according to The New York Times.
The House approved the Omnibus Public Land Management Act by a vote of 285 to 140. The Act has already been passed by the Senate and President Obama is expected to sign it.
California is the state with the largest area of newly protected land, 700,000 acres. Representative Mary Bono Mack, Republican, told reporters that the legislation is ?incredibly important,? and that it ?gives higher protection to environmentally sensitive, outright beautiful lands that deserve protection.?
Along with California and West Virginia, states that will see expanded protection for wilderness are Wyoming, Idaho, Michigan, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah.