University of Ottawa student wants to know how much Ont. farmland financial corporations purchase
A PhD candidate at the University of Ottawa is asking producers in eastern Ontario to share their experiences related to farmland sales.
Christopher Kelly-Bisson is investigating the amount of farmland that financial corporations buy for speculative profits. Kelly-Bisson wants to understand how these companies interact with farmers in the process of buying their land.
“I have mapped-out different categories of farmland ownership for three municipalities in the region,” he said to Farms.com yesterday. “I am currently analyzing changes in these types of farmland ownership categories between 2000 and 2017 to see where practices of farmland speculation are taking place and what companies are involved.
“I am also doing interviews with farmers right now to learn more about these companies and how they get farmers to sell them their land.”
Through his research, Kelly-Bisson hopes to determine ways to preserve farmland in the province, he said. He also wants to learn how to make farmland more accessible to new producers.
“I spent three years operating my own market garden business on rented land in the Ottawa Greenbelt,” he said. “I reached a point where I was interested in transitioning on to my own land to grow the business. However, I grew up in the city so there was no way I was going to be able to buy or inherit land from a family member.
“It became very clear that getting farmland relatively close to market is very difficult for new farmers, especially for young farmers coming from the city. This experience led me to go back and do my PhD to learn more about how farmland can be preserved and made accessible for new farmers,” Kelly-Bisson said.
“Talking to some longstanding farmers in my area made me realize that one of the important things to address to make farmland accessible is … the problem of farmland speculation,” he explained.
If you farm in eastern Ontario and have spoken with a company who purchases farmland for speculation, or if you know someone who has, Kelly-Bisson would like to speak with you confidentially.
He will conduct interviews either over the phone or in-person this year. He hopes to publish his cumulative findings in his doctoral thesis and academic peer-reviewed journals.
Kelly-Bisson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-220-1152.
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