Farmland prices have been rising quickly across Canada, some hint that it’s due in part to corporate and foreign land grabs.

Farmland prices have been rising quickly across Canada, some hint that it’s due in part to corporate and foreign land grabs.
Photo Credit: Allan Weeks Real Estate Co.via CBC

The growing concern of farmland “land grabs” in Canada

Recently an opinion article was written by a member of Canada’s National Farmer’s Union (NFU).

In it Doug Campbell expressed his concern about land grabs of farmland in the maritime province of Prince Edward Island, although the phenomenon occurs in every province.

Doug Campbell operates a 200 acre 70-cow dairy farm in P.E.I.

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Douglas Campbell is district director of the NFU and a dairy farmer on P.E.I.
Douglas Campbell is district director of the NFU and a dairy farmer on P.E.I. © Steve Bruce/CBC

Each province regulates its own land sales, and they vary in how strict they are. Prince Edward Island has one of the strictest sets of regulations controlling farm land ownership, yet Campbell and others say that those rules are being circumvented in PEI, as in other provinces where they exist.

He says both corporate and foreign interests are buying up large areas of land and when that happens, several individual farms are replaced by one big operation, or even left fallow with no farming.

As families move out, businesses which need a critical mass of clients also close and in a domino effect the smaller communities die off.

Douglas Campbell has worked on the farm his entire life, taking it over 25 years ago. He’ls concerned about small farms dissappearing as corporate and foreign interests buy up farms
Douglas Campbell has worked on the farm his entire life, taking it over 25 years ago. He’ls concerned about small farms disappearing and whole communities fading away as corporate and foreign interests buy up farms © Steve Bruce/CBC

Quoted in a CBC news article about school closures he said  “If you don’t have strong communities, if you don’t have strong family farms, it has a trickling effect — from your hospitals, to your doctors, to your community schools”.

Whether righly or wrongly, increasing land prices are being blamed in part of foreign and corporate interests so that young farmers can’t afford to buy land or even buy the family farm
Whether rightly or wrongly, increasing land prices are being blamed in part of foreign and corporate interests so that young farmers can’t afford to buy land or even buy the family farm © (Kate Porter/CBC

In addition he says there are concerns about who controls the food supply and what crops are grown and where the food ends up.

Campbell says while the letter of ownership laws may be adhered to in most cases, the spirit and intent of ownership laws are clearly being circumvented, and in either case, the end result harms individual livlihoods, the economyas a whole, and food security.

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