‘New’ 3,300 acre parcel for lease is prime irrigated agriculture land
Protected by the Cascade Mountain Range, the weather is warm and dry with a long growing season for the 3,300-acre irrigated agricultural land called Sandpiper. DNR purchased this rolling, rich land for the Common School trust in May. The property includes water rights and irrigation systems. Located 5 miles from Paterson, just over the ridge above the Columbia River in Benton County, the Sandpiper parcel is prime ground for irrigated row crops, orchards and vineyards. Glade Creek flows through part of the property. The parcel will be offered at a public lease auction.
Public Lease Auction August 14
Who: Washington State Department of Natural Resources Agriculture Leasing Program
What: Sealed bid public auction to lease 3,358.6 acres of state trust lands—an opportunity for a proposal on combination of agricultural crops
When: August 14, 2012 at 2:00 p.m., PDT
Where: DNR Southeast Region Office, 713 Bowers Road in Ellensburg
Details: Sealed bids (including proposed cash bonus bids) must be received no later than 2:00 p.m. on August 14, 2012. The proposed lease authorizes the bidder to propose any combination of irrigated agriculture crops—perennial or annually cropped.
Complete information and lease documents are on DNR’s ‘Leasing State Trust Lands for Agriculture’ webpage.
Why would DNR buy a parcel of land to lease?
When school trust lands are sold at public auction or are transferred to other public agencies, DNR buys replacement property for the trust to ‘keep it whole’. Funds from lands that have been sold are placed in a land replacement account until DNR finds a good fit that will provide long-term revenue to the trust—in this case, the K-12 grade public schools. Replacement trust properties that DNR acquires are working forests, agricultural or other natural resource lands.
Common School trust lands are managed to earn revenue to build or carry out major remodeling on K-12th grade public schools statewide. Most of the lease revenue from this parcel will go to schools. About 85 percent of trust lands in agricultural production are common school trust lands. Other trusts include the ‘land grant’ university WSU, the UW and other beneficiaries.
Common school trust lands were granted to the state of Washington at statehood in 1889. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources is charged with managing all of the state trust lands for the benefit the people of Washington in perpetuity—that is, forever.
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