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Bonnefield Appears before Senate Hearing on Farmland Ownership

OTTAWA Canada, February 15, 2015 – On February 9, 2017, Bonnefield appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture & Forestry that is undertaking a study on the acquisition of farmland in Canada and its potential impact on the farming sector.

Bonnefield President Tom Eisenhauer urged the Committee to advocate for responsible, evidence-based regulations that protect Canadian farmland, while ensuring that farmers have ample access to the capital they need to operate their businesses profitably – including institutional capital.

Eisenhauer organized his remarks around five keys points:

  • Farmers, not investors, determine the price of farmland in Canada;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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; and
  • Foreign ownership of farmland is not a widespread problem in Canada.

“We recommend that this Senate Committee advocate for responsible, evidence-based regulation of farmland ownership in Canada; regulation that protects farmland from the larger threats posed by urbanization and re-zoning. But in advocating for responsible regulation, we ask the Committee to consider measures that will not prevent Canadian farmers from accessing the capital that they desperately need – including institutional capital - to compete against global competitors in a capital-intensive industry,” said Eisenhauer in his closing remarks.

Bonnefield's remarks

A video replay of Bonnefield's remarks can be viewed by clicking here (beginning at the 9:10:30 mark of the video).

Coverage: Urbanization, not foreign ownership, the real threat to farmland, Manitoba Co-operator