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Climbing land costs worry Canadian farmers

Climbing land costs worry Canadian farmers

Senate committee offers ideas to governments on how to support producers

By Kaitlynn Anderson
Staff Reporter

Many producers across the country have worried about the rising cost of farmland.

To address these concerns, the Senate committee on agriculture and forestry released A Growing Concern: How to Keep Farmland in the Hands of Canadian Farmers on Tuesday.

The report outlines factors that may have caused Canadian farmland values to rise, including economic growth, foreign investment, environmental policies and urban sprawl.

For example, many farmers have experienced increases in their incomes due to rising commodity prices. Since interest rates are also relatively low, producers are highly interested in acquiring land to ensure they remain competitive, the report explained.

This situation has left some producers – especially younger generations – struggling to purchase enough land.

“As the cost of acquiring land rises, it is increasingly difficult for young people to start farming,” The Hon. Diane Griffin, Senator for Prince Edward Island, told today. “With the average age of farmers being 55 years, it is important that the transition of farmland become a priority related to food production in Canada.”

After assessing these factors, the Senate revealed five recommendations in its report.

1.      To allow new farmers to purchase land without difficulty, the Department of Finance could look into “increasing the amount of the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption for qualified farm property.”

2.      The federal government could inform provincial departments on any “technological advances in imaging and remote sensing, and the way in which the resulting soil maps could assist provincial land-use planning.”

3.      To help develop land-use planning tools, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada could “renew the funding for the national research project on farmland protection.”

4.      The federal government could help the provinces take advantage of programs that would allow them to efficiently track land transactions.

5.      Both federal and provincial levels of government could “work together to protect and promote the use of land for agricultural purposes.”

Goddard Photography / iStock photo

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