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‘Without that cooperation from FCC, this family business will fail’; BC MP weighs in on ranch foreclosure

Click to play video: 'B.C. MP weighs in on potential Greenwood ranch foreclosure' B.C. MP weighs in on potential Greenwood ranch foreclosure
A BC MP is weighing in on a contentious issue, the potential foreclosure of a BC ranch near Greenwood – Mar 6, 2021

A B.C. MP has weighed in on a contentious issue, the potential foreclosure of a B.C. ranch near Greenwood.

“Without that cooperation from FCC, this family business will fail,” said Richard Cannings, MP for South Okanagan-West Kootenay.

“It’s not just a tragedy for the Hays, it’s bad for the community.”

Cannings is offering his insight on the potential foreclosure and legal battle between Waikihahei Ranch and Farm Credit Canada (FCC), a story Global News covered earlier this week.

Read more: British Columbia family fighting to keep ranch from foreclosure

“The reason the FCC is there is to help farmers. They have expertise in farms and what goes on there,” said Cannings.

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“So that when things go sideways on farms, and they often do, the FCC will have some leeway and know what the farm/ranch should be doing — and to me that’s what’s missing here.”

The ranch’s financial troubles began when expected funds from leasing part of their property to a hemp operation fell short – forcing the ranch to make the tough decision of taking care of their cattle instead of making a mortgage payment to the FCC.

“It’s just that the (FCC) is being completely inflexible and it seems that they show this flexibility and sometimes they don’t,” Cannings told Global News on Saturday.

“He’s completely mystified why they don’t want to seem to help him.”

Cannings says he will be writing a letter to the Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham to ask for her point of view.

He is hoping that some action will be taken, although he readily admits he’s not sure what that action will look like with the FCC being a crown corporation. 

Read more: B.C. cattle company wins appeal; ranch entitled to restrict public access to 2 lakes near Merritt

While Farm Credit Canada denied Global News’ request for an interview, it did point to court documents to outline its point of view. 

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The court filings Global News viewed indicate that the FCC already has been granted a foreclosure order on Waikikahei Ranch that could served at any time.

In a court document filed in Rossland, it said, “this court declares and orders that (the property) be offered for sale by private sale, free and clear of all encumbrances of the parties, together with any other charges, liens, encumbrances, caveats or certificates of pending litigation registered against the lands, but subject to the reservations, provisos, exceptions and conditions expressed in the original grant thereof from the Crown;

“The petitioner has exclusive conduct of the sale and may list the lands for sale, until further order of the court, and may pay to any real estate agent or firm that arranges a sale of the lands a commission of not more than seven per cent on the first $100,000 and 2.5 per cent on the remaining balance of the gross selling price to be paid from the proceeds of the gross selling price.

“A sale of the lands is subject to the approval of the court unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the parties.”

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