New approach to Yukon agriculture land leases a local food success

Megan Waterman of Dawson’s Lastraw Ranch at her seasonal lease in Bear Creek in the Klondike. Lastraw raised hogs for local consumption on a placer mining lease in the summer of 2020, and plans to raise more in the 2021 season.

More Yukoners will have access to more locally raised pork as the result of an innovative seasonal lease arrangement. Lastraw Ranch of Bear Creek, Dawson raised pigs for the food market this past season on already-mined sections of a neighbour’s placer claim.

Megan Waterman’s family-owned Lastraw Ranch has been producing eggs, chicken and pork since 2011, but expanded pork production in summer of 2020 using a seasonal lease arranged with assistance through the Government of Yukon’s Agriculture Branch. With access to additional land through this lease, Lastraw Ranch successfully expanded pork production by 38 animals this past summer. Lastraw Ranch used the mobile abattoir for harvest of inspected and certified pork, and the entire harvest was delivered to BonTon & Company for butchering and retail sales, located in Dawson.

This is the first time the Government of Yukon has issued a seasonal lease for food production. This new type of arrangement is supported by Yukon’s newly adopted agriculture policy, Cultivating Our Future. This project demonstrates a multi-use, and regenerative use, of previously developed land.

Laststraw Ranch’s use of a seasonal lease to produce pork for local consumption is a great example of innovative land lease arrangements, cross industry cooperation and community support for local agriculture business development. This out of the box thinking about land use has the potential to encourage new entrants to Yukon agricultural production at a low start-up cost. I hope to see more of this kind of creative leasing and land use to encourage more local food production in Yukon in the coming years.

Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources Ranj Pillai

I’m thankful for the collaboration of our neighbouring placer mining family, the assistance of Agriculture Branch’s lands manager Jonathan Lucas and legal counsel Carmen Gustafson for developing the seasonal lease. I think our unconventional approach to land use could potentially open up opportunities for other emerging farmers and bolster local food production in keeping with the goals of the new agriculture policy.

Lastraw Ranch Director Megan Waterman

Quick facts 
  • In 2016 Statistics Canada reported over 41 per cent of all land farmed in Canada was in some form of lease agreement

  • Lastraw Ranch started in 2011 in Bear Creek Subdivision just outside of Dawson City. Lastraw’s successful production model uses the summer months to grow piglets and chicks to market size requiring only a seasonal facility, and no permanent land title nor structures.


Matthew Cameron
Cabinet Communications

Rod Jacob
Energy, Mines and Resources

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