By Connor Lynch
STRATFORD — Over 200 acres of workable farmland sold in three parcels for a whopping $5.56 million at auction last month.
The three parcels of land, totaling 215 acres, were each bought by different farmers: Two chicken farmers, and one former chicken farmer who now cash crops, said auctioneer David Jacob, of Jacob Auction Centre in Mitchell. The farmers paid about $25,900 on average per acre for the land just south of Stratford, along Hwy 7.
The seller, Ron Richardson, of Ronley Farms Inc., said some of the land had been in the family since 1834.
Richardson, 78, who now lives in a nearby retirement home, said he wasn’t surprised by how much the land sold for as farms auctioning land in the neighbourhood have gotten similar prices.
“It was fairly brisk bidding,” Richardson told Farmers Forum. “The auctioneer just kept asking for more and they just kept saying, yes, I’ll pay it.”
The auction lasted about one hour and ended with scattered applause from the crowd as some calculated the price of winning bids in their heads.
The largest parcel, which had 100 workable acres, sold for $2.5 million to Rob Vanness.
The next largest parcel, 75 workable acres, a farmhouse, a bank barn, and a poultry barn, sold for $2 million to Jared Merkel.
The smallest, which had 40 workable acres, a 3-storey brick farmhouse, and a former chicken barn converted to a storage barn, sold for $1 million to Rob Vanness’s second cousin, Jake Vanness.
All three of the winning bidders live nearby, Richardson said.
The auction was hosted at the Optimist’s Club Hall in St. Paul’s, a 10-minute drive from Stratford, because of limited parking on the farm and a bad winter storm the day before.