A Red Deer-based agricultural consulting business has expanded its services to include support for farmers negotiating land deals with energy companies.
Agri-Trend Land Resources is the newest business unit in the Agri-Trend Group of Companies. Through it, certified “Land-Coaches” help farmers and landowners with surface rights negotiations, including valuing lands and determining appropriate compensation.
“It could be as simple as a contract negotiation for a right-of-way, to a multi-level, multi-site facility installation, including pipeline access, batteries and rights-of-way,” said Rob Saik, CEO of the Agri-Trend Group.
He pointed out that many farmers find themselves negotiating land deals with energy companies.
“Everybody is dealing with these issues surrounding industry and the energy sector crossing the land or accessing the land, and even government compliance is starting to filter in here,” said Saik.
“It’s fraught with complexity and it’s fraught with suspicion.”
Farmers may not understand the issues involved but have few choices when it comes to seeking help, he said.
“There are only a handful of individuals that are qualified to deal with the issue from the farmer’s perspective as an advocate.”
Agri-Trend Land Resources’ Land-Coaches will be supported by experts, said Saik. These include advisers who have worked with government, farmers and industry on surface rights issues.
“We’ve assembled a group of high-level expertise to support these Land-Coaches to make sure that the farmers are getting all the proper answers and documentation necessary.”
Saik said that Agri-Trend Land Resources will seek to avoid needless confrontation, and instead work toward a “fair, transparent, equitable arrangement.” But, he stressed, it will represent the farmer.
“The farmer is the one we work for.”
Agri-Trend Land Resources was launched in November.
But it’s a service Saik had pondered for years. He’d noted that the topic of surface rights was always popular with farmers.
So far, said Saik, interest in Agri-Trend Land Resources has been high with farmers. But it’s also gained support from energy companies, which recognize that a professional adviser acting on behalf of farmers can reduce suspicion and delays.
“I’m cautiously optimistic this could be the biggest thing we’ve done at Agri-Trend so far,” said Saik. “The pent-up demand seems to be there.”