Canada must curb farmland speculation to keep grip on food security: Senate report

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Canada has a conundrum: a new generation of farmers wants to take over agriculture, but farmland prices are escalating out of their reach, a new Senate committee report has found.

That puts them at risk of becoming employees or tenants of big land owners, and puts Canada’s own food security at risk if governments can’t find ways to curb investment speculation and keep ownership of Canada’s farmland in Canadian hands.

“What struck me personally is that so many young people want to become farmers,” said Sen. Ghislain Maltais, deputy chairman of the Senate standing committee on agriculture and forestry, “but their hands are tied,” when it comes to their ability to buy land.

The Senate committee released its report, the culmination of two years of work studying the issue, in Vancouver Monday before public hearings on the impact of climate change on agriculture and forestry.

The committee found that in 2015, it cost, on average, $5,400 to buy an acre of farmland in B.C. and $10,000 in Ontario — the highest price in Canada.

Read full article here.

Derrick Penner – Vancouver Sun – March 19, 2018.

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