Monday, March 04, 2013

Briarpatch magazine article looks closely at farmland speculators

An article in Briarpatch looks at the implications of what it calls a "21st-century land rush" in Saskatchewan. AndrĂ© Magnan, an assistant professor in the department of sociology and social studies at the University of Regina and Melanie Sommerville, a UBC doctoral student explore the purchase of large tracts of land, often as a speculative investment. Saskatchewan  has almost 40 per cent of the arable farmland in Canada, more than any other province, and it is being targetted by farmland investment funds. These  are sort of "mutual funds" which tend not to farm the land themselves, but instead rent it to farmers -- often back to the same farmers who sold it to them in the first place.
"The growing influence of more socially and spatially distant actors in the sector raises the question of who will reap the rewards and who will bear the risks associated with the transformation of the global agri-food economy. Although agricultural commodity prices are high and farmland values are rising, Prairie farmers know that the good times rarely last. These new models may well prove less resilient than traditional family farming when it comes to surviving the lean years and coping with constant change."


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