The following commentary does not necessarily reflect the views of AgWeb or Farm Journal Media. The opinions expressed below are the author's own.
Mike Walsten has covered major business trends in agriculture for more than 40 years.
The value of Canadian farmland rose 6.9% the second half 2011, according to a semi-annual survey conducted by Farm Credit Canada (FCC), the nation's leading agricultural lender. That increase followed gains of 7.4% and 2.1% in the two previous reporting periods. In 1985, FCC established a system with 245 benchmark farm properties to monitor variations in bare farmland values across Canada. Since 1990, the benchmark properties have been appraised semi-annually in January and July. These selected parcels represent the most prevalent classes of agriculture soil in each part of the country. Changes in value are weighted based on cultivated farmland per area. FCC appraisers estimate market value using recent comparable sales. These sales must be arm’s-length transactions. Once sales are selected, they are reviewed, analyzed and adjusted to the benchmark properties.
The January update found farmland values were stable or increased in all provinces. Saskatchewan, with 40% of Canada's arable land, posted the strongest percentage increase at 10.1%. Ontario posted the second-strongest increase at 7.2%. Alberta and Quebec posted 4.5% and 4.3% gains, respectively. Nova Scotia registered a 3.2% rise while Manitoba logged a 1.9% increase. Price Edward Island listed a 1.5% gain, New Brunswick posted a 1.3% rise and British Columbia reported a 0.2% rise.
The strongest increase posted in any semi-annual review was 7.7% in 2008. The last decrease reported by the valuation update was 0.6% in 2000.
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