Is Canadian Farmland the Best Investment of All?


[I alluded here earlier to a class of investable assets with the potential to grow in value more spectacularly, even, than gold or silver. In the guest commentary below, my friend Tom McCafferty, a commodity trader and author of numerous books, makes the case for Canadian farmland as the best place to sock away money for your grandchildren. Obviously, this would require more capital than you might sink into precious metals or stocks. But, as Tom puts it, if you’ve got “a couple of million” to spare, this is arguably a very good place to bury it. RA]

If you’re worried about the economy your children, grandchildren and even your great grandchildren will inherit, there is an investment that has the potential to help all three generations.  It should even be rewarding in your life-time as well.

I’m talking about Canadian farmland.  Not the beautiful mountains along the coasts, but the real, dirt farming, i.e. wheat, corn, oats, sunflowers, soybeans, sorghum, barley, etc., in the center of the country.  But first things first:  Why Canada?

  • Global Warming—no matter whether it is caused by carbon dioxide or natural time cycles, the growing seasons in the higher climates is getting longer.  The yield of prime exporting crops, such as corn and soybeans, are getting better as faster than the climate is rising.

  • Water—Canada has plenty, unlike India and China.  And it is clean water.  Ever wonder why China put so much effort into controlling Tibet?  The five major rivers that supply water to China originate in little old Tibet.  When you read that China is importing more and more soybeans, they are actually importing water.  And water, unlike oil, cannot be economically moved—imported or exported—from one country to another.  It can only be used where it is.  In the years to come, he who has water rules.
  • Energy—Canada has oil, shale oil and natural gas—and plenty of it.  And you sure cannot do much farming these days with gasoline (power) and natural gas (nitrogen fertilizer).
  • Good farmland, priced right—Thousands and thousands of acres priced at a fourth of what you would have to pay in Iowa, for example.  These acres are not equal to Iowa’s best land yet, but they will be in time.  But on a return basis, they are in many ways the equal of Iowa now due to their lower price per acre and dollar return per bushel produced.
  • Fertilized—it is home to one of the world largest fertilizer companies, which is one the largest producers and exporters.
  • Politics—Canada is a stable country when measured against most standards.  Its government is responsive to its citizens and would be one of the last in the world to interfere with individual ownership of land.  A solid place to build a future.

All that is needed to produce food for decades to come is available in Canada—at bargain price compared to the rest of the world.  All you must accept is that producing food will be a profitable business for the next 5, 10, 20 or 30 years.  For some reason, I really do not expect the world’s population to begin declining, nor do I worry much about the present population wanting to move up the food chain from eating rice to munching on a good New York strip steak.  Also, much of what comes off these farms can also be used to make fuel and clothing.

Food Inventories Low

At present, food inventories worldwide are at historic lows.  Conversely, demand is on the upswing, as is world population.  It is my firm opinion that this divergence will get wider in the decades ahead.  Asia is a great example.  The two major countries, China and India, are steadily relying more and more each year on imported food.  Simultaneously, they are developing middle classes demanding an upgraded diet—both in quality and variety.  India has the potential to be even more demanding in the next few decades because its “Green Revolution” has become a disaster.

What about the current return from farming?  It has been calculated to be just below 8% for the last five years, as per NCREIF US Farmland and Office Index.  And at just below 12% over the last 10 years and over 11% for the last 17 years.   There were times when I would have been very happy with those returns in the last few years.

But don’t take my word.  The legendary investor and founder of the Quantum Fund, Jim Rogers, in an interview with CNBC talked about his fund that is buying farmland in Brazil and Canada.  I like both countries for agriculture, but prefer the sound government of our northern neighbors.

(If you’d like to have Rick’s Picks commentary delivered free each day to your e-mail box, click here.)

  • YYZ April 24, 2011, 5:34 pm

    Canada is indeed a great investment for many reasons but I wouldn’t count on global warming as being a good thing or the heavy use of fossil fuels 30 – 40 years down the road.

    Firstly, longer and wetter/or dryer growing seasons — especially with monoculture agri business will bring on a whole new set of problems including pests and molds or rot, to name but a few.

    The other issue is our oil. Shale gas and oil sands are very energy intensive to develop and we’re exporting it at good clip. How long will it last?

    Hopefully Canada will adopt best management practices that further advance industry and farming that is sustainable and is not entirely dependent on the heavy use of fossil fuels for all of the reasons I’ve mentioned and more.

  • warren April 24, 2011, 4:30 pm

    I have lived on the Canadian prairies all my life. It is only a touch over 800 mi from Calgary Ab to Winnipeg Mb and you don’t grow much above the 53rd parallel. Also, as farmland may be less costly up here, the total cost of operation will be a factor if you decide to actually farm.
    If you could buy and then rent out to an actual grower you would be better off as an investment. However, don’t expect value to increase in huge amounts real fast(could take a lifetime). We also have a ridiculous capital gains tax system. Happy “landings” bye.

  • Robert April 22, 2011, 9:43 pm

    There’s a great undercurrent flowing through this discussion relating to “foreign ownership” and “foreign investment”, and how the bureaucrats are able to maintain physical and region borders by first (and foremost) erecting borders to trade.

    Kinda makes politicians seem like Union reps, doesn’t it?

    I mean, if a person is a skilled, capable producer (farmer, miner, well-driller, etc) then why must they ONLY be able to practice their craft within “jurisdictions” as opposed to being able to go wherever on Earth the need for their particular expertise aligns with the best natural environment for then to succeed?

    In other words, what good do borders really do, except to divide, and to empower those who draw the lines on the map…?

    I know, I know… I’m thinking big… maybe a little TOO big…

    Or am I?

    How “free” do you really want to be, Mr or Ms Citizen of Earth?

    • easyEE April 23, 2011, 12:09 am

      Facebook and the like seem to be erasing some of the border. Making the border line more dashed so to speak.

  • Dave Holloway April 22, 2011, 8:53 pm

    Lol, woulda coulda shoulda.

    Back about 2002 I was casually looking at Canadian prairie farmland. At the time the Cando was at about .65 and the Federal Government had fairly recently ended the rail subsidy to the interior which really hit farmland values.

    I’d say I’d be up 5X in USD terms at this point.

    ‘Course I let my sliver go at 25 too.

    • Cam Fitzgerald April 23, 2011, 8:08 pm

      You did better than I did Dave by selling Silver at 25.00 (regrets,regrets). But that is past history now and since being back in too large I am once again on the verge of an exit and taking profits. Anybody else here sensing a solid Silver short on the horizon [soon]?

    • Mike Syke April 28, 2011, 8:46 pm

      Silver is nowhere close to its top. Hold for the LONG term. You ain’t seen nuttin yet, eh?!

  • DAVID April 22, 2011, 7:31 pm

    Re: Silver–the proper valuation for silver bullion IMHO is not US dollars. It’s ounces (or grams–now about 1.50/gram, which is a .20 cal BB). I’m not playing trading games with silver.
    Also–have some friends in S. Alberta who’ve sold out because they can’t compete with the big ag interests and hutterites. They only had 2 sections (1280 acres) and it wasn’t enough to give them the economies of scale they needed.

  • DAVID April 22, 2011, 7:15 pm

    haven’t read all the comments yet, but seems the author forgot one very big plus–it’s Canada, not the US. Having a sizable percentage of your net worth in Canada across the border from US authorities, and in Canadian dollars, not Bernanke dollars, can’t be a bad thing.

    • SDavid April 22, 2011, 11:58 pm

      Not to mention our money is color-coordinated!

  • SD1 April 21, 2011, 10:50 pm

    I, for one, would welcome the idea if the Canadian government opened its doors to Americans wishing to move here and become Canadian citizens. We could use a larger tax base, for one, and we already speak the same language (sort of) aside from your peculiar tendency to often turn one syllable words into two (we say down south and you say dow-yun sou-yuth) and some of you on the eastern seaboard don’t seem to acknowledge that “r’s” actually make a sound in the middle of many words (we say New York as opposed to New Yawwwk). You’d all be welcome here, if I had my way, on one condition: Leave your damned bankers behind.

  • ricecake April 21, 2011, 9:40 pm

    The Canadians can nationalize all their farmlands and natural recourses when the foreigners strip off too much of their national wealth. Brazilians will do exactly the same too. Their own people will uprise to against foreigners’ occupation of their natural resources and land. They don’t need the fait paper money from the foreigners. They have more enough money themselves. And they can certainly print their own money too. They are not that stupid.

    Individuals must learn to cure their greedy desire. To learn when enough is enough. One shouldn’t take more than one deserve in the world.

    • ricecake April 22, 2011, 1:37 am

      for example: Iceland don’t want foreigners to privatize their resources.

    • YYZ April 24, 2011, 5:48 pm

      Agreed…but the selling of our precious resources has already started. For example (and ironically), the relatively recent sale of some of our mines to the Brazilian behemoth, Vale.

    • Chris T. April 25, 2011, 5:56 pm


  • Eric April 21, 2011, 6:32 pm

    When I used “ocean front property” I wasn’t thinking as much about global warming as I was trying to illustrate the article has a lot of misconceptions about Canadian farmland and Canadian agribusiness for someone thinking about investing here.

  • Chris T. April 21, 2011, 5:30 pm

    Lest I forget:

    One argument used in favor of accepting the current dogma and basing solutions upon it is:

    “Even if we are wrong, what harm would it do to use less fossil fuel?”

    Economic harm to people across the world is of course no concern of theirs, that is just a burden we all must shoulder. To them, so long as the non human-part of earth is not harmed, things are alright.

    These people tend to think of humans as somehow divorced from nature, as unnatural. Many AGW fanatics would love to see some catastrophe wipe out 3 billion people, what they call the cancer of the planet.

    What harm will it do?
    There is the rape of the earth in a visible, undeniable way by:
    a) windmilss everywhere, their blades interfering with bird-migration patterns, their masts interfering with ocean-currents in the off-shore wind-farms,
    and not to forget, the general ugliness of the stuff

    b) the horrific environmental damage done during the search for and processing of the rare-earth elements needed in solar panels, wind-mill generators, etc

    c) the environmental damage done by the ethanol production–rainforrest destruction in S.A., fertilizer and pesticide abuse on the plains, GMO-ing of the corn, rape-seed, etc (and the price impact on human food supply)

    d) WORST OF ALL:
    crazy ideas of poisoning the atmosphere with STUFF to darken it, to block sunlight (because that would fix a mental construct problem, the green-house effect).

    If a physician misdiagnoses a condition, and thus prescribes the wrong medication, he does great harm to his patient.
    d) is not different, and it would do incalculable harm.

    So even the generally held thought, that no harm will come by following the hypothesis claims, is demonstrably false, as it will have to be.

    • Mike Syke April 28, 2011, 8:42 pm

      It kinda sounds like you advocate horse drawn buggies for us all. Plowing our 1 acre plot with a horsey too. Right.

  • Rich April 21, 2011, 5:22 pm

    So many $46 silver headlines, wondering if this is a good time to sell or tighten Trailing Sell Stops…

    • Chris T. April 21, 2011, 5:35 pm


      In a bull-market of “normal” assets such as stocks or realestate any obvious sign of mass-infomration spread is not taken as the imminent end of the bubble for many many weeks (see the lenght of the mass-psychosis during or housing).

      Why is it that in the PM’s even the tiniest notice by the general punditry is taken as an imminent sign of the end?

      I have never understood that asymetry. It is also true of bear markets:
      as soon as a bunch of types such as the Cramers are seen to predict doom, the bear is supposed to be over.
      (which may have been true 81-2011, but not true 1930-1946 or 1969-1980)…
      Just wondering.

    • Robert April 21, 2011, 6:05 pm

      I just sold my July 43 and 44 calls, and I have an 8% trailing stop on July 45’s…

      I also have an 11% trailing stop on 50% of a long position in AGQ that has absolutely gone berzerk since I entered it last Sept…

      The big question with the silver price is:

      Is it vindicating the opinions of Ted Butler and Max Keiser?

      Silver price bypassed JPM’s shareprice yesterday- coincidence, or poetic justice?

    • Chris T. April 21, 2011, 6:41 pm

      Ag speculators, got to love it.
      hope you keep the physical…

    • Rick April 21, 2011, 7:26 pm

      Rich, I’ve put out very specific price targets for bullion, and one thing Silver is not, at least by my runes, is worrisome. Most recently, I have been projecting a minimum 48.040, basis the May Comex contract. As always, we will exercise extra caution when the futures reach that price — and they will — but I am skeptical that it will prove to be the top of this bull market.

      FYI, detailed and precise forecasts for Silver, Gold, Mini-futures and other popular trading vehicles are available to Rick’s Picks subscribers, but you can take a free trial by following this link:

    • Steve April 21, 2011, 7:51 pm

      Rich, don’t know about selling or buying, but; the county tax assessor just advised me about a half hour ago that silver is going through the roof, as well as gold, because joe (my words) is going to start buying.

    • Robert April 21, 2011, 9:47 pm

      “Ag speculators, got to love it.
      hope you keep the physical…”

      That’s a big 10-4.

  • Chris T. April 21, 2011, 5:12 pm

    The jury is certainly still out on global warming, the pro-theory data, so long husbanded by the Al-Goreans, is certainly a pick-what -you-need-discard-what-conflicts, data pool.
    (ex is the purported sea-level rise, which is quite disputed by the most eminent oceanographers, none of whom were even asked to be part of the so-called international panel that declared that rise).

    BUT, even if there has been climate change, much more important, really the only thing that matters, if it is anthropogenic.

    It is the epitome of conceit, that man’s incomplete algorithms can model a system as complex as the earth and its climates, with the hundreds upon hundreds of factors affecting it.
    And it is an even greater conceit to believe that such a complex system can be affected by man via the most miniscule of levers.

    Of the supposed rise in atmospheric CO2 during the industrial age, from about 300/310 PPM to 370/380 PPM, more than half, closer to 2/3 is generally acknowledged to be non-anthropogenic.
    The other 30-40%, or about 25-30PPm is anthropogenic.

    LAUGHABLE that this accounts for the claimed observations (again validly questioned by many who really understand).
    Especially considering that atmospheric CO2 has been >400ppm in the past, and that without ANY human input claimed by anyone.

    Anthropogenic global warming is a construct by groups with specific agendas:
    a) those seeking to increase their control even more
    b) those seeking ot profit by it (Cap and Trade, subsidised alt. energies, wind, ethanol, etc)
    c) atheists that can not subconsciously lieve without a belief, and so have elevated this to their new religious dogma.

    The last point is shown by the shrill cries of horror they evince at the socalled “deniers”.
    The shrillness is of the kind seen with so-called religious heretics.

  • Robert April 21, 2011, 5:08 pm

    I live in saskatchewan. It is not as easy as you might think for foreigners to by farmland here. There are strict laws in Saskatchewan to prevent foreign ownership. I think that as an American you can purchase 10 acres of land or less and as a Canadian non-Saskatchewan resident 160 acres or less. Sprott Resources SCP-T have leveraged their way into prairie farm land through a company they own called One-Earth Farms. . The goal of One Earth farms is to become the largest farm in Canada and the world by developing partnerships with First Nations to lease their farmland at fair market rates.

    It it is mighty cold up here with a short growing season. Another cold spring brrrrr….I agree with Carol, I think we are headed for another ice-age not global warming. Their is a correlation between weak sunspot cycles and global cooling and two years ago we entered into sunspot cycle number 24 which is the weakest cycle by far in the last 200 years. Ten thousand years ago we were covered in two kilometers of ice right where I am sitting. All of the Geophysicists I have read agree that we are due for another ice-age, it’s just a matter of when it will happen. Tough to farm on ice!!

    • Tom April 22, 2011, 5:56 am

      Robert, you are mistaken about Saskatchewan land ownership by out of province owners. I’m unsure if it applies to out-of-Country, but anyone can buy any amount of Saskatchewan farm land as of about 3 years ago. Can’t remember if it was changed by the Sask Party or the NDP on their way out.

  • Eric April 21, 2011, 5:02 pm

    As a Canadian farmer this is quite funny. First, current return on farming from the NCREIF US Farmland and Office Index numbers – how does that apply to Canadian farmland??? A food shortage? My grain bins are still full from last fall and no one wants to take delivery of my products. Energy- We usually get gouged worse than the export markets this is sent to. Yes we have had a couple of good years but based on this article you would be much better off looking at oceanfront property in Arizona!!

    • Benjamin April 21, 2011, 5:28 pm

      Hi Eric,

      In all the points here, I kind of got lost on what I was initially going to say, but it seems you’ve kind of, sort of already brought it to the front.

      Let’s suppose global warming occurs, and Canada opens up to more lucrative farming (not to be confused with making money from it, just more farming).

      Food prices today, like oil, are artificially high. Abundance is not so much the problem as it is the “speculation”/resulting price inflation.

      So governments know they can, under these condtions, as well as warmer conditions, win a tug of war with farmers. Like so…

      As things get warmer, the warmer climates produce more. Governments can then, to curb rioting, introduce price controls. And if you want to export to them, you have to contend with that policy. So what is the Canadian famer, for example, to do?

      Either eat the loss, let it rot, or just not farm so much in the future. Probably a combo of all three, but one thing is certain: they would export less. No body likes to get ripped off, and seeing as how there is no real shortage (warmer = more) to contend with… No disasters, except to those who were hoping to cash in on a false market cue. BUT…

      Suppose things get cooler? Well, in t his sitution, the exporting Canadian farmer would have more power over price control policies; with artificial price inflation already here, falling yields in colder temps would give govts something _real_ to lose sleep (and maybe heads) over. On the other hand, the northern farmers would be harder hit but lowering global temps, and wouldn’t have as much to export.

      Sheeze… Can’t win for tryin’!

      But you’re not the only Canadian farmer who I’ve heard say things like you have. I knew a couple farmers who hauled their own stuff who lived up in Sasquatch who used to complain about how tough it is up there. Too, listening in at the truckstops, many Canadain truckers spoke of things agri-business similarly.

      This is isn’t surprising to me. North is not the best place to farm. Politics steps in on top of natural conditions, and well, people have it tougher. It’s the way of things.

      Anyway, seeing as how you guys apparently already have the crud-end, any shift in global temps will only make it worse. I think one would be ill-hedged to go into farming Canada at this time, more so when temps change. The U.S. _would_ be better, except, again, all the political/govt factors.

      We’re all in deep sheet, I think…

    • Robert April 21, 2011, 5:57 pm

      “based on this article you would be much better off looking at oceanfront property in Arizona!!”

      Ahh, you jest, but once the polar ice caps are gone, Arizona WILL have beach front… 🙂

      The Sea Of Cortez stands to migrate about 150 miles north if global sea level rises 25 feet.

      Of course, some volcano somewhere will spew a bunch of particulates into the atmosphere sometime in the next 20 years and reverse 50 years worth of global warming, and all the frozen Canadian farmers, and all the future beach combers in Phoenix will all say “oh, crap…”


    • Brad April 21, 2011, 10:21 pm


      With respect, your premise that food prices are artificially inflated, is incorrect.

      Food prices are artificially low, not high. The government has been using food as a weapon for control of our population and others for many decades. This is ending somewhat, that’s why food prices are going up.

      We cannot export our crops without permission from the government. Government will allow more exportation proportionate to the growing size of the average commercial farming operation. Larger business’s, larger exports allowed. Higher prices here in the states.

      Family farms that weren’t able to use futures markets to sell their products (because they don’t have enough crop to fill a contract) during the “off” season are a thing of the past and the large commercial operations sell during the off-season and bring the crop in during harvest….already pre-sold at the high price when the supply was low.

      For the next 20 years or so, food prices have nowhere to go but upward.

    • Benjamin April 22, 2011, 11:58 am


      I beg to differ on the prices, and one basis for that contrary view is what has been happening in recent years in oil. The Saudis have recently gone on record as saying that high oil prices are not the result of supply/demand. More oft than not, troubles in the middle east are pointed to as a cause for high oil prices, but such explanation is incomplete because those high prices themselves have a cause.

      One can blame higher importing of oil by the Chinese, as well as American SUVS, but that wouldn’t be jiving with the facts. Greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. dropped back to their 1996 levels in 2009….

      note: Europe definitely hasn’t been picking up the slack. Aside from high energy prices, gas especially, that came well ahead of ours, they are doing the austeriy thing.

      And China’s increase in oil demand didn’t start from a point anything like the U.S. and Europe; their increased consumption has been supplied in great part by the fall in those countries. Furthermore…

      So what is the cause for high oil prices? Fed QE policy. And since oil prices affect pretty much all things, one can honestly say that food prices are artificially high, if for no other reason…

      However, over the past two, three years, any such problems with food protests or riots was similarly explained; it wasn’t that there wasn’t food, it was just too expensive for them to afford. Again, prices of commodities are being driven up, like the bogus rise in the stock market which is so often a topic of discussion here at Rick’s and in this forum.

      This is not to say that food prices will not continue to rise. In classic economics, when malinvestment is discovered, the malinvestment corrects. ie False signals re-align with reality. Today, though, it’s the opposite; reality becomes the false signals.

      In terms of oil, again, look at what high oil prices, goosed higher by QE (not to mention business as usual prior to that policy), have done to the main producers. It has thrown those countries into ongoing and growing unrest. Saudi Arabia is nervous. The revolt and civil war/anarchy in their front yard is right around the corner and Donald Trump, of all people, has gone on record as saying that the U.S. should send in the troops, en masse, to “protect” and plunder Saudi Arabia.

      And all because of QE I&II, what itself was the result of a bogus financal and monetery systems. Therefore, itself being nothing but a scam… Well, what else can one honestly and rationaly say about the price of anything? They’re distorted. If they weren’t, the problems in the world not be occurring and people would gladly pay those prices and let their growing incomes take the hit.

      But I have not ruled out the reality of price controls, both existing and future, to account for artifical suppresion of artifical highs. Price controls always have the effect of increasing the price of the same or even diferent things, in other areas. For example, control food prices lower because they are being artificially driven up, and other luxuries/necessities, like oil, absorb the loss (until it can’t). Undoubtedly this has occurred over the years and will continue in the future (unless governments don’t value their heads where they are, that is!). It’ll result in fake higher prices as well as fake lower, as one would expect.

  • rick j April 21, 2011, 4:20 pm

    Carol, global warming should have been labeled global weather change, because it is more accurate. In Canada, Europe, etc. the summers are definitely warmer these past 10 years. Winter? I spend a couple of months in South Carolina each winter and I hear a lot of grumbling.
    Canadian summers can be very hot and humid, longer days due to northern position, as many microclimates as you have, so perhaps it is best not to generalize.

    • Benjamin April 21, 2011, 5:07 pm

      Rick J,

      “longer days due to northern position”

      Can I assume this is like the north pole’s six month night/day cycles, only less pronounced? If so, I would think this balanced out (and probably then some) with total daylight hours, year-round, the further south.

      As for temps, I used to be a trucker, and what I remember most about Canada, aside from the very nice people up there (never met a Canadian I didn’t like!), summers were windows down only, while the air conditioner was used the further south I went.

      I think there is much confusion as to what makes the best land, due to the rampant distortions in the markets. I mean, demographics have been pretty persistent over the centuries. Canada is always been sparcely populated. Too cold. Mexico is also less populated. Too hot. Plants, animals, and humans all have one common charecteristic, and that is a preference for warmer climates. Hence, right between too hot and too cold is 300 million people, with highly productive agricultural land.

      Of course, politics and governance and finances…probably makes Canada the better buy. But that can’t change what mother nature has to say about riper conditions. And it kind of worries me that some are rationalizing the better buy as superior natural conditions. Not that I’m saying Canada is awful, mind, but I think the middle ground is where the most productive areas are.

      Anyway, why worry? Because of people like Martin. Canadian healthcare is superior. This was a key argument in getting O-care passed. Well, if there’s a promotion on the agenda of statists to suggest more farming should move north… and there’s some already rationalizing it… Not to mention that we’re already wasting land to biofuel…

      Herds tend to move whether or not they realize there’s an agenda driving them to it.

  • Carol April 21, 2011, 3:50 pm

    Global Warming? You gotta be kidding. In the 70s we were talking about the coming ice age. Now with all this globalist cap and trade nonsence we are suppose to be buying into the “global warming” nonsence (oh yea and that mankind is doing it -lol). Did anyone notice that we just went through one of the coldest winters in many many years? The climate records show clearly that the earth warms and cools of thousands of years. I think we have just hit a peak and are heading into the next ice age.

    I wouldn’t buy land in canada if it was given to me (ok maybe if it was given to me). To pay for itself (taxes, equipment, etc) that much land with such a short growing searson would have to be intensely farmed with petro based fertilizers. Also corn, soybeans, and many grains are all GMO and I would never ever want to plant those frankenseeds on “my” land (as Steve reminds us). Even if I was somehow able to avoid planting those frankenseeds on “my” land I am certain my neighbors frankenplants would contaminate my crops.

    No thank you, besides I don’t have millions of monopoly money to invest.

    • Kathrin April 21, 2011, 4:13 pm

      @Carol, I’m with you about frankenseeds but it is possible to grow organic up there and I guess you’d just have to choose crops that are not vulnerable to GM contamination. I would be concerned however about the coming ice age. I thought everyone knew that global warming IS the way that ice ages start. It can happen quickly as the warming trends throw all the weather patterns off and more and more severe weather hits. I’ve got my own farmland in the NE US and I’m lucky to be farming it myself. Farming may be hard work but I sure do like to eat! : >

    • A. Rand Fan April 21, 2011, 4:51 pm

      Who can say for sure we’re not entering a warming cycle? As to manmade? I don’t think so. Like you mentioned Carol all the smart people back in the 70’s thought the Earth was going into another Ice Age. As to Canada getting more of a growing season- Eh! (sure!). Greenland (it is quite ironic that Greenland has more ice than Iceland) is benefiting from “Global Warming” too.,1518,434356,00.html

      IMO, man’s activities have little effect. The Earth (or Nature) is the biggest producer of carbon. And if the Earth didn’t have a way to absorb all that carbon, the world would be a much different place, most likely without us. Vegetation decomposing, volcanoes etc. are the major producers. Man accounts for about 8% of the total. I read a very enjoyable book by Bill Bryson, “A Short History of Nearly Everything”. that explained how nature recycles carbon. My point to Mr. Bryson’s worry of man tipping the scale is that carbon emissions fluctuate yet the Earth takes it in stride.

    • Robert April 21, 2011, 5:52 pm

      Bravo Carol…

      {thumbs up}

    • Tom April 22, 2011, 5:48 am

      Bingo Carol, Excellent points. I farmed and lived in Saskatchewan for 47 years. Anyone who still thinks there is such a thing as a ‘Family’ farm, is not keeping up with the times. Yes, there is investment firms buying / bidding up land, who then rent it out to mega ‘farmers’ who (rightfully so) are just concerned with the bottom line. You cannot buy decent land anymore and expect for it to ever pay for itself. Hence the farms get fewer and larger. Rural communities are dying. Biggest business is old age and funeral homes.
      Mega farms purchase supplies directly from manufacturers, bypassing whatever local business there is left. Large trucks and heavy farm equip are destroying the roads. Most roads are no longer cleared in the winter, as there is no longer families living on them. These farms hire workers spring and fall, pay as little as possible, with the technologies available, skill and experience are not really required. The most important implement is the big high clearance sprayer. It is the first machine to start in the spring, the last to stop in the fall. It is spraying regardless of the wind. Drift is accepted. If a farmer kills some of a neighbours crop, the neighbour may never know as only the hired help will see it and they don’t care. Also, the neighbour likely won’t say anything, as he’ll likely overspray himself in the future. Meanwhile, any resident’s left will be breathing the dispersed chemical, some of which are Insecticide; basically nerve gas.
      Established, 3rd / 4th generation farms that are well managed are very rich, able to outbid the smaller farmers. The problem is that the 3rd or 4th generation generally pi$$es it away, as they have no idea of the hard work and dedication required to build the farm, as it was given to them. Hence, the corporate farm with the mega renters are the way of the future.
      It’s called Progress.

      Regarding the ‘Global Warming’ swindle; as Carol says, when I went to school in the 70’s, the big fear was Global Cooling and the next ice age. As a farmer, you get tuned to the different weather patterns. We are now going into a cooler period. It is now the end of April, the prairies and even the lower mainland in BC is still getting regular snowfalls.

    • warren April 24, 2011, 4:01 pm

      Kathrin, go ahead and buy a farm. An ice age isn’t likely to happen in my lifetime our yours.

  • Mark April 21, 2011, 3:46 pm

    I dunno, farming sounds too much like work.

  • Scott April 21, 2011, 2:33 pm

    I own shares in many Canadian income trusts that focus on energy production, are there any Canadian investment trusts or funds that focus on farmland?

  • Benjamin April 21, 2011, 1:11 pm

    This is one those opportunities that sounds too good to be true and as it turns out…

    If the globe warms enough over the next 10, 20, 30 years, then lands further south will enjoy longer and more fruitful growing seaons. You’re a marginal or lower producer (better marginal than nothing, though this will change your bottom line). If global temps cool, then your growing season is shorter, but not longer than wamer climates further south. Again, you’re marginal or less.

    Sometimes, it’s not a matter of currencies, governments, etc. Nature has to have her place and because she will, warmer latitudes will always be the best lands (unless global temps get hot enough to desertify half the northern hemisphere!).

    I say leave the farming lands in Canada to Canadians and their future generations. Let them make use of it for their own, in their own good time. And if they want to sell it to Indian/Chinese immigrants, to help them alleviate their problems… Well, those are Indians and Chinese, not Americans, Europeans, etc.

  • Bed Rock April 21, 2011, 7:41 am

    I agree with you on Canada. I have cattle partners there, an account at RBC in Canadan dollars, and an account at Canaccord that I keep fully invested in small Canadian based small mining stocks. Their farm land is some of the best in the world, but it gets so cold up there.
    Now Texas has excellent farm and grazing land. A rancher is really just a farmer of grass and uses cattle to merchandise his grass. In fact cattle are the part of the food chain that converts raw grass into a protein that humans can consume. Energy, Texas has all of it as well as fertilizer plants. Politics, well you know, politics are politics anywhere. Texas would be the 9th wealthiest nation on earth. And who knows, we may secede and become our own country again !
    And the best part of being a Texan is we never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

    • warren April 24, 2011, 3:55 pm

      I’ll say! Doesn’t George W. still live there?

  • Bob at Best Investment April 21, 2011, 5:56 am

    Farm land has a history of keeping and growing value during stock market slumps. Like many other commodities, it’s largely independent of the ups and downs of currency-based markets. At a time when inflation threatens to undermine economies around the world, farm land is a good hedge.

    That said, there are still some risks. Because food prices have been rising, so too have farm land prices. Farmers have been planting on formerly uncultivated land to boost yields and revenues. The classic price cycle of any commodity is that when prices rise so does production, which drives prices down again. For that reason, we may be near a peak in prices for farmland, and it’s never good to buy at the peak of anything. Long-term investors might be wise to wait a year or so.

    Meanwhile, buyers will have taxes to pay, and will have to lease the land, unless they’re actually farmers. This is like any other real estate deal – you need to be sure you can cover your costs, and that the lease market will hold up.

    Farm land, especially in Canada, does look like a solid long-term investment if done right. See Best Investment

  • Terry S April 21, 2011, 5:18 am

    Mercury Retrograde… I haven’t heard that since the “Cosmic Muffin” – a radio astrologer of the late 1970’s when I lived in a 200 year old farmhouse in rural Maine! In the words of my generation… ‘Far Out, Man’

    • Rick Ackerman April 22, 2011, 7:10 pm

      Seems like, outside of Lake Wobegon, Mercury is ALWAYS in retrograde hereabouts. Not not only are the kids way below average, but cell-phone calls routinely get dropped, SIM cards fail, and Comcast signal failures are routine.

  • not_left_handed April 21, 2011, 4:03 am

    I have colleagues in Canada who say (only half joking) that if you believe the climate change narrative, Canada becomes a vast temperate farm economy in the next century.

  • Totalinvestor April 21, 2011, 2:00 am

    Yes it is a great opportunity, unfortunately only Canadian citizens are allowed to own it.

    • Steve April 21, 2011, 5:14 am

      How about a Canada corporate ‘person’, with foreign board members, can that Canada corporation own property ? The people of the central plains of Canada are in deed hardy in that cold winter and winds. That whole ownership thing is kinda queer. A subject of the Queen in a feudal system actually owns property ? But then, the U.S. only has tenants in FEE.

  • Martin Snell April 21, 2011, 1:08 am

    Just a reminder. Saskatchewan (lots of good farmland and potash and oil and gas) is the birthplace of socialized medicine in Canada and home to a strong NDP (socialist party). Wonderful place as shown in this clip from the first episode of Corner Gas, set in a very very small town in southern Saskatchewan, in the middle of nowhere (went by there once and saw them filming).

    • Steve April 21, 2011, 5:21 am

      Martin, why is it that my family and friends in B.C. don’t like this stuff you are talking about ? Know several in Alberta that are not too keen on all this government run your life stuff. Can’t remember for sure, but; the man I get my Herefords from, his family is in Canada, and he has dual citizenship. They don’t say so much good about the social network. In fact mom got her oil/gas lease and moved to the states long ago. Sounds like Saskatchewan is a good place for all those who wish to practice democracy to illegally immigrate to. Its good for the Mexican coming here, should be just as good to be an illegal in Canada.

    • Doug April 21, 2011, 11:55 pm

      I’ve sold out and moved to Canada to try my hand at farming. OK, I have a side job that really pays the bills. But I like the idea of owning lots of land. For the price of a quarter acre lot in some cities I bought 100 acres. It’s not all roses and honey but it’s a great way to raise a family. You can follow us at to get a first hand taste of farming in Canada.

    • Steve April 22, 2011, 12:05 am

      Doug, sounds a lot like when I moved to Alaska in 1978, except we couldn’t grow much of anything. Lots of fish, fowl, and game to eat, and local fare like berries. Did the well thing just like you.

    • Martin Snell April 22, 2011, 12:34 am

      Great stuff Doug. Sounds like quite the project. Best of luck.

      We had good friends that moved out of Ontario and started a small farm south of Winnipeg. Quite an experience for them too.

      BTW Flathead lake is one beautiful place.

    • Doug April 22, 2011, 12:51 am

      Steve – I think/hope we’ll have a longer growing season than in Alaska? Usually end of May to late September. The summers are grand here but the winters are not for the faint of heart.

      Martin – We love the Flathead as well. We are only 3 hours from there now so will be able to go back and visit often.

    • Steve April 22, 2011, 2:38 am

      Doug, things can be weird anywhere. Much further north around Fairbanks they get much hotter summer temperatures, and more growing hours than where I lived on the Kenai. Growing season from late may to first week of september frost. 20 growing hours a day in July. Trouble with the Kenai was coastal summer weather. Potato, cabbage type greens, was about it on the Kenai unless one greenhoused. They grew 1 cutting of Okay quality hay. Oats were grown but green bound to be fed to stock. Just north of Anchorage was a very famous transplant for farming in I believe the 40’s or 50’s. Barley was just starting in the 1980’s with a couple of owners going broke with FHA before enough was lost into the land for someone to make a go of it. Or, that was the story a friend of mine told me who worked for Farmers Home Administration.

FREE Impulse Leg Toolkit

Use this simple tool to spot major trend changes the instant they begin.

No, I'm not Interested