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Agriculture This Week - Farming very much big business

If anyone is still under the illusion that farming is anything other than big business these days a single farm for sale in Manitoba should exhibit one of the current reality.
What is being described as the “largest land package in Canada is for sale on the Prairies” in a Western Producer article rather clearly illustrates how Prairie farms in Canada have been trending to ever-larger operations.
The land, located near The Pas, Man., features 23,800 acres, just over 37 sections, for cultivation and is going for $53.3 million.
That would mean willing one of the largest lotto wins in Canadian history, and signing it all over to make the purchase, and then still need money to operate farm.
It is suggested in the article the price tag is reasonable, given it’s going for about $1,640 an acre.
In Saskatchewan, the article suggests prices can range from $2,000 to $3,500 per acre, while Alberta can see land go for $2,500 to $6,500 an acre.
If one extrapolates a mid-value price in Saskatchewan a quarter section is going to fetch about $400,000, give, or take a few thousand.
For anyone not sure what a quarter section of land is, it encompasses 160-acres, which is the size of the plot of land the early immigrants to Western Canada were given, if they met certain provisions.
Certainly there are successful smaller producers, but even a farmer on a half section doing some niched farming to generate returns has a land base valued at near three-quarters of a million dollars, and then requires machinery, grain storage and other farm elements pushing the investment nearer one million.
Of course machinery is the other side of the coin in terms of farming being very big business these days. A new four-wheel drive tractor or new combine will each take huge bites out of a million dollars before it is rolling around a field.
We often look at new small businesses popping up in a community with a certain amount of awe based on the individual taking the risk of investment in establishing the storefront.
But a farmer driving a new tractor off the lot is barely noticed although the investment in that single tractor is likely to be as large as many smaller business developments.
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