Who should own Canadian farmland? And how can we best protect it?

On February 9, 2017, Bonnefield (who purchased proposed mega-quarry land from The Highland Companies) appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture & Forestry.  The Committee is undertaking a "Study on the acquisition of farmland in Canada and its potential impact on the farming sector"

Exerpts of the presentation:

So our prime reason for meeting with you today is to ask this Committee to advocate for responsible, evidence-based regulations that protect our farmland, while ensuring that farmers have ample access to the capital they need to operate their businesses profitably – including institutional capital.

I would now like to turn to five key points we would like the Senate Committee to consider in its ongoing study.

POINT 1: Farmers, not investors, determine the price of farmland in Canada.

POINT 2: Recent increases in Farmland prices across Canada have, with very few exceptions, been driven by increases in farm profits and are in line with increased profit levels.

POINT 3: Farming is a capital-intensive business, and Canadian farmers need access to a broad range of capital sources – including institutional investors - to finance their businesses and to remain internationally competitive.

POINT 4: The biggest threat to Canadian farmland is not who owns it. The biggest threats are urbanization and re-zoning and the conversion of farmland for real estate development, quarries and industrial uses.

POINT 5: Foreign ownership of farmland is not a widespread problem in Canada

My bigger concern is not who owns Canadian farmland, but who farms Canadian farmland.  We believe that Canadian farmers should farm Canadian farmland. 

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