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Preserving P.E.I.’s farmland

The question of what to do with farmers exiting the industry and leaving their farms was front and centre at a recent conference that drew input from the three Maritime provinces, as well as from Ontario, where the forus is less on succession and more on development of farmland close to urban centres.

November 20, 2008  By The PEI Guardian

November 20, 2008 

How can a farmer afford to retire these days and who can afford to buy the farm? It was a question of considerable debate during a recent day-long session in Charlottetown on Preserving P.E.I. Agriculture Land.

There was the income trust option that some insisted would create ‘tenant’ farmers, there was the land trust option and there was an option that has met with considerable success in a sister province.


It’s been racking up economic development achievements in rural Nova Scotia and could soon be planting some roots on Prince Edward Island.

“It’s a concept of going back to the neighbours and focusing on money sharing,’’ said Chris Payne, director of Nova Scotia’s Community Economic Development Investment Fund (CEDIF). “It’s just a tool to keep the money here rather than exporting it.”

Payne was a guest speaker at the recent ADAPT council session and offered some ideas how the investment fund could help the million-acre farm.

The forum, chaired by farmer Elmer MacDonald, was held as a way to focus on the problem facing many farmers here -no successor, no way to retire and no one able to afford the entry fee.

Professor Tim Carroll of UPEI offered the financial vehicle of Real Estate Income Trusts (REIT) as a way to preserve farmland here in the future. 

“Turn the farms over to the new generation and have faith,’’ he insisted. “We will always need food and there will always be people wanting to grow it.”

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