The 'land question' on the prairies amidst intersecting crises: perspectives of grain and oilseed farmers in Alberta
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Across the Prairie Provinces, concern is growing as investor actors of various stripes continue to show interest in purchasing farmland, in addition to the broader trends of increased rates of tenant farming, and farmland concentration. These tenure changes are not being closely monitored at the provincial level. Due to the inaccessibility of the land titles data in Alberta, it is not yet possible to do a quantitative analysis of tenure changes, as has been done in Saskatchewan. This study instead hones in at the community level in three regions of Alberta through 40 interviews, primarily with grain and oilseed farmers. The interviews reveal that financial players -- investor actors, as well as banks -- are pushing up the price of farmland, creating a widening gap between its market value and productive value. I argue that irrespective of the landlord, tenant farming arrangements will not allow the kinds of transformations to alternatives that are necessary in the face of the farm income crisis as well as the climate crisis. I also analyze the unravelling of rural community structures under neoliberalism, and consider how these changes impede the collective action needed to push for transformation.