RUSSELL — About 80 people, including neighbours, tire-kickers and serious buyers, arrived with keen interest at the Stachon farm, between the villages of Metcalfe and Russell, in Prescott-Russell County, as two parcels of land were auctioned off on April 20 for just more than $2.84 million.
James Auction Services sold off 100 acres of farmland that included a house, barn and shed for $810,000. Another 193 acres that included a house, shed and solar panel, were sold for $10,500 per acre for a total of almost $2.032 million.
Both parcels of land are owned by retired farmers Joe and Patricia Stachon. He recently moved into a retirement home.
While veteran auctioneer Stewart James started the auction with a microphone in hand while standing on the tailgate of his pickup truck, his daughter Erin James-Merkley scanned the crowd for bids. His son Stewart Junior worked the cell phone, taking bids from two different buyers.
In about 30 minutes, both parcels were scooped up by former dairy farmer Shawn McDonald, who was on the phone. McDonald, along with his cousin Darren and father Larry, last year purchased the shuttered Continental Mushroom Farm at Metcalfe. The trio say they are turning the 307-acre property and its extensive storage space into a hay-drying facility. That property was originally listed at $4.3 million and sold for $1.875 million.
“The price of the land was realistic and fair for the buyer and fair to Mrs. Stachon,” said James, adding that the new buyer will have to do a lot fencerow removal and much of the land is not tile-drained. “There is considerable amount of work to put into both farms to bring it into top production. That takes time and money.”
While farmland auctions are more common in Western Canada and the United States, “there are a fair amount of sales now in Ontario,” James said. He added that it was “great to see the younger generation” buying farmland. “It’s great for agriculture and great for the future.”