ESTEVAN - One of the biggest farms in the Estevan area is up for sale.
Earlier this year, the Hanson family, who farms west of Estevan near Torquay on Highway 18, completed their final harvest and decided to retire, selling their property in what will be the biggest unreserved auction in Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers' history.
"We've done some very large complete farm dispersals, including real estate before. But this actually will be the largest unreserved farm auction in Ritchie Brothers' history," said Brandon Basler, the agriculture territory manager for southeast Saskatchewan with Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers.
"We're very proud that the Hanson family placed their trust in Ritchie Brothers to deliver results and put on this auction. We're very honoured to have the sale and we really look forward to it."
The current three generations, Lorne, Kirby and Connor Hanson, have been working the land in southeast Saskatchewan almost all their lives.
"Connor (the youngest generation) started running a combine when he was seven," said Kirby Hanson.
Lorne Hanson started farming in 1968 and kept on going for over 50 years. The decision to get out of the business wasn't an easy one, but his son Kirby said, "at the end (Lorne) was for it."
The idea to sell the farm came a few years ago when a Hutterite colony reached out to the Hansons, willing to buy them out. While that deal never came through, the thought of retiring from farming took root.
And once the decision was made, things started rolling. Hansons got Ritchie Bros. to take care of the sale, so they could focus on other things.
"We felt relieved. We seeded 18,000 acres for a lot of years, praying for rain and praying that grasshoppers don't eat your crop. We did it lots and enjoyed it. And we'll get to do something else now, enjoy our life, enjoy our summer instead of work like a dog all summer," Kirby said.
Kirby's sister, Lorne's daughter Christine Hanson-Daae, came out to the field on Sept. 4 to take some pictures during the family's final harvest. On that day, she also was wearing overalls that belonged to their little sister, who was a big part of Hanson Farms too, but unfortunately passed away from cancer in 2002.
"I am wearing her overalls in the photo, keeping her memory alive," Christine said.
Hanson Farms saw five generations of men and women dedicating their lives to growing crops and at some point, raising cattle in this part of the province. Lorne's grandfather, Carl Bod, came to Canada from Sweden when he was 17 years old. The first job he got in the new country was as a carpenter. He was working until he finally got some homestead land out by Lake Alma.
Bod started the farm and raised the family. He kept buying and renting land throughout his life. He later moved to Torquay, where the farmland was better.
When Lorne's father got out of the army after the Second World War, he and his wife, Lorne's mother, started farming as well, but they always lived in Torquay. Later Lorne moved to his grandfather's farm and continued with the family business, raising his children and grandchildren in farming traditions.
Now that they turn this page of their lives, the Hansons plan to enjoy some spare time they never really had before.
"We bought a place at Boundary Dam, we'll be living at the lake. It'll be good," Kirby said.
He added they may travel to Arizona or up north, but they plan to stay in the Estevan area, where their kids and grandkids are.
It was decided to have the final accord and have the auction in January.
"We just felt January would be the best, as it gives everyone time to revise a plan because you just can't hop into it right away; you need a few months to get ready," Kirby said. "Hopefully whoever buys the land, enjoys it."
The Hanson Farms auction will be conducted by Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers and will see a great variety of land parcels and bid items.
"We have a land auction included with equipment. The land is 9,600 titled acres of high producing farmland, it includes home quarter with two houses, large, heated shop, 500,000-bushel grain handling facility. Many of the parcels have surface lease revenue. There is 59 parcels in total, being 61 quarters of land that's going to be up for sale. And then (a) great lineup of late model farm equipment included as well," explained Basler with Ritchie Brothers.
Kirby added that a few big investors got a hold of Ritchie Brothers, but only the sales days will show how things actually go.
Jan. 25 will see the land sale, and Jan. 26 will be for the lineup of equipment. Everything will be sold online via timed auction at Ritchie Brothers' website. Those interested in participating in the auction would need to register an account with the auction company, and Basler can help with the rest.
"Anyone that's going to bid, especially on the land, can reach out to me to get set up with a bidding limit to be able to bid on the land on auction day," Basler noted.
Basler can be reached at 306-630-5171.
The Hanson Farms sale page can be found at rbauction.com.