Global warming, cheaper land draws buyers to Manitoulin

With an eye on the possible effects on agriculture that the global warming phenomenon may have, particularly in currently productive growing areas not far above and below the equator, many canny Canadian businesspeople are anticipating that reasonable agricultural land with abundant access to fresh water is a first-rate investment.

People actively amassing farmland right across Canada feel that there is a likelihood that many tropical regions currently receiving reasonable annual amounts of rainfall are destined to become deserts, or nearly so, in the foreseeable future.

This means that other good growing lands on the planet, that are unlikely to be susceptible to this same phenomenon, will be in much higher demand to help feed the world.

This thinking is certainly driving much Western Canadian land investment and whether it’s affecting farmland acquisition on Manitoulin, it doubtless will be before long.

The fact that a large-scale beef operator from British Columbia is actively purchasing Manitoulin land suitable for cow/calf production (as reported in last week’s paper) is certainly an indicator that Manitoulin may be on the radar for forward-looking investors seeking well-watered growing and grazing land.

The buyer reported on last week is interesting and, so far, somewhat unique in that the company already has massive farmland holdings in British Columbia.

But as this paper has been steadily reporting for nearly a year in the series titled Buying the Farm, land acquisition here by people seeking larger land holdings than they may already have in Old Ontario, which they are able to purchase at a fraction of the cost of comparable land further south, is a growing trend.

Whatever economic forces (this commentary has referenced two possibilities and there may well be others as well) are driving this trend, it’s good news for Manitoulin if the agricultural sector puts more people to work who will, in turn, shop in local businesses thus putting even more people to work.

The community abattoir appears to be coming along precisely at the right time as the more animals it can process, the more viable it will be and, likewise, the closer such a facility is to producers seeking to develop a market for their own brands, the more economical these costs will be to them.

Blue Goose, the large BC operation currently on the hunt for Manitoulin farm land, Bennett Farms that has purchased several Billings farms and many other individuals who are moving into the farming market means that Manitoulin is in the process of acquiring, at least somewhat, a new generation of farmers and that is something that was not generally happening over the past 30 years as young rural people have been choosing careers other than farming.

If, at least to some extent, the drive to buy and farm land on Manitoulin is being driven by the anticipated effects of global warming, well it’s an ill wind, as they say, that blows nobody some good.