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Commentary: Farmland ownership sees big change

Real estate is a hot topic in Canada. Most Canadians are acutely aware of how home prices and rents have skyrocketed in the last 15 years.

While many are familiar with urban real estate trends, few are aware of the restructuring of farmland ownership. Since 2014, we’ve been studying changing land tenure patterns on the Prairies, where 70 percent of Canada’s agricultural land is situated.

Our research reveals three major trends: ongoing farm consolidation, increasing land concentration and expanding investor ownership of farmland.

This is leading to more land inequality.

Our research found that investor ownership of farmland in Saskatchewan was negligible in 2002, but had climbed to nearly one million acres by 2018 — almost 18 times the size of Saskatoon.

Saskatchewan sought to tighten rules on farmland ownership in 2016, but it seems to have done little to slow the pace of investor acquisitions.

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