“It is the Wild West out here”
Prairie farmers’ perspectives on farmland investment and land concentration
Keywords:farmland; financialization; concentration; rural community
This research builds on the emerging body of literature investigating the implications of changing land tenure relations in the Prairie Provinces, where over 70% of Canada’s farmland is located. Through an analysis of survey data collected in 2019 from 400 grain farmers, we address the following research questions: How are farmers experiencing changing patterns of land tenure and control at the local level? What challenges and opportunities do farmers face in these changing farmland markets? And, how has the entry of new actors (farmland investors) changed relationships between landlords and tenants? Our findings suggest that those farmers who are witnessing the financialization of farmland in their regions view this phenomenon with alarm. Furthermore, we show that those who rent from corporate investors are more often subject to landlord influence over production practices and pay higher rental rates than those who rent from other landlord types. Concern about farmland concentration is widespread among Prairie farmers, with a variety of negative effects identified, including increased competition over land and the decline of local communities. We recommend that future research probe how different investor types (individual vs. corporate and/or institutional) engage in land markets, examine the gender dimensions of landlord-tenant relations, and engage in analyses that challenge the current iteration of the private property regime.
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Copyright (c) 2022 André Magnan, Mengistu Wendimu, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, Katherine Aske
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