NFU’s Urgent Plea: Protecting Farmland from Investor Ownership

Protecting Farmland from Investor Ownership
Protecting Farmland from Investor Ownership

NFU’s Urgent Plea: Protecting Farmland from Investor Ownership

In a resounding call to action, the National Farmers Union (NFU) is poised to stage a compelling rally on November 22nd at Parliament Hill. Their impassioned plea? The implementation of a decisive ban on investor ownership of farmland resonates across the agricultural spectrum.

At the forefront of this movement are young farmers and workers, set to orchestrate an evocative farmland access envisioning activity.

This creative endeavor aims to craft a symbolic quilt, with each square representing aspirations for accessible farmland, while the exchange of seeds becomes emblematic of continuity and agricultural heritage.

An art piece will come to life, echoing the resilience of farming communities, intertwined with messages of solidarity and resistance against the encroachment of investors into the agricultural domain.

Rav Singh, the NFU-Ontario youth advisor, emphasizes the perils inherent in unchecked land speculation.

It was land speculators who bought up Greenbelt farmland with the help of the Ford government, planning to pave it over and build high-end townhouses

Investment companies should not have the power to gamble with the future of farming,” Singh articulates.

Central to this fervent plea lies an open letter, circulating with fervor and backed by food policy and climate justice organizations.

This document serves as a beacon, illuminating the urgent need to protect and safeguard Canada’s farmland and highlighting the pressing nature of this cause.

Alarming statistics underpin this rallying cry: with 40% of Canadian farm operators eyeing retirement within the next decade, the absence of succession plans casts a shadow over the future of agriculture.

Access to farmland emerges as the paramount obstacle for aspiring farmers, a barrier that threatens the sustenance of agricultural practices.

By 2033, a staggering shortfall of 24,000 farmworkers will loom large, endangering the very fabric of food production. Secure land access stands as the cornerstone for the prosperity of young farmers and Indigenous land stewards.

Generations of discriminatory policies have perpetuated the disenfranchisement of black, Indigenous, and farmers of color from their ancestral lands.

This historical injustice continues to impede their ability to acquire and retain land, further exacerbating their struggles to establish a foothold within the agricultural landscape.

In a starkly pointed statement, the NFU denounces the relentless surge in land costs catalyzed by investment firms. Stark examples abound, such as in Saskatchewan, where investors and landlords have amassed a staggering million acres of farmland over the last two decades, dwarfing urban areas in size.

This unnerving escalation in land costs mirrors a disquieting trend, with farmland values soaring annually. Ontario, for instance, witnessed a staggering 19.4% surge in cultivated farmland values in 2022 alone, exacerbating the challenges faced by aspiring farmers.

Jessie MacInnis, the NFU Youth President, issues a clarion call for immediate government intervention.

We need land legislation that favours the next generation of farmers, not investment firms. NFU demands that governments enact a total ban on investor ownership of farmland,” MacInnis asserts.

The rallying cry crescendos on Wednesday, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., as Parliament Hill becomes the symbolic stage for this urgent appeal.

The collective voice of farmers, workers, advocates, and supporters will echo through the hallowed halls of governance, calling for decisive action to safeguard the future of farming from the encroachment of investor interests.

 


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