In a recent editorial in The Globe and Mail, columnist Eric Reguly commented on the latest trend in agricultural land purchasing, where blue-chip corporations and investment funds are buying foreign farmland. The tracts they are purchasing are vast and almost always in poorer countries.
By Ralph Pearce
In a recent editorial in The Globe and Mail, columnist Eric Reguly commented on the latest trend in agricultural land purchasing, where blue-chip corporations and investment funds are buying foreign farmland. The tracts they are purchasing are vast and almost always in poorer countries. And the issues involved in foreign land acquisitions are somewhat obvious: are local farmers and local economies benefiting from these transactions or is this just a new type of investment fund for the haves in have-not countries?
One of the underlying issues in Reguly’s summation was that Canadian interests would be wise to impose more stringent guidelines on our farmland than are now in place, to fend off foreign buyers who come looking for cheap(er) land.
The key word here is “value.“
The “V” word is one I have become better acquainted with in my tenure with Top Crop Manager. I like to think the meaning and connotations associated with “value“ have changed in the past 10 to 15 years. Back then, it seemed that “value“ defaulted to a simplistic association with “cost“ or “retail price“: the cheaper an item, the greater its value. Today, our economy and our society are realizing that value goes beyond mere numbers on a sticker. The value of something, be it a combine, a truck, a bag of seed or the services of an accountant, varies according to the mindset of the individual. To me, purchasing a combine is an expense I might not want to make on my own, if I were a farmer. Yet there is obvious value in having ownership of that piece of equipment, at the ready when the time is right, not to mention its value as a deductible expense on an income tax form. Professional services is another aspect of life where value is measured. It is possible for people to do their own plumbing but the question becomes: what is the value of my time? Yes, I can do the job myself, but a professional can do it faster and more efficiently, and that is worth paying the price for that professional.
That whole equation has a value all its own.
It is not that “value“ has become a buzzword or a fad, either. I have heard advisors like Brent VanKoughnet or Dr. Dave Sparling talk about the value of relationships that goes beyond savings or service. Out of some professional relationships, there is trust, contentment and even friendship that cannot be condensed, cheapened or simplified into a unit of currency.
The main ingredient
There is value in all of these things, and the word “Value“ has become my primary mantra for what we do with Top Crop Manager. In the process of putting together each issue, I want to impart a “value“ to it, be it in the stories we assemble, the features we incorporate (including the addition of our latest Machinery Manager for four-wheel drive tractors) or the relationships that can result from all we do. I know there is value to our advertisers and industry stakeholders, many of whom have conveyed their thoughts and opinions to me on numerous occasions. I also know there is value to our readers, because I see and hear those comments, as well.
That is of tremendous value to those of us at Top Crop Manager, and it is part of my job to see that it continues. Because it is of “value“ to me, as I hope it is to you, too.