Farmers are concerned about what the government has done with their land after they were forced to sell it to a new owner, who turned out to be a dodgy broker.
The issue is also playing out in the private sector, where farmers are increasingly wary of signing deals with brokers or landlords, given the uncertainty about future yields and the uncertainty of how long it will take to collect their taxes.
At the moment, most buyers and sellers are dealing with an uncertain future.
The market for agricultural land is booming, with the number of properties up by more than 50 per cent in just the past year.
The number of farmers in Ontario, with a median value of $5.3 million, has nearly tripled in the past decade.
The province has more than a million acres of agricultural land, according to the province’s Agricultural Land Use Assessment and Stewardship Strategy (ALSA).
The most valuable farm in Ontario was the property owned by the province for more than 70 years by the late Earl Wilson, who was killed in 1918 when a bomb exploded at his farm in Toronto.
It is also unclear whether the new owners are doing enough to safeguard the land from evictions and other forms of foreclosures.
The province is looking at ways to ensure that farmers have a solid history with the province and can’t be forced to part with their properties without a court order.
As of March, the province had more than 10,000 farms with land worth at least $5 million, including more than 1,000 that were under the control of a previous owner.
The government also has nearly 1,100 farms with property worth at or above $5-million.
The new owners have not yet agreed to a purchase price.
“If we have to do a purchase, it’s not worth it,” said Andrew Thompson, a real estate broker with an Ottawa office.
“I have been doing it for 30 years.
It’s a business.
The best I can do is give them a fair value and say, ‘Let’s negotiate.'”
While the government is looking to the future, some farmers are struggling to keep their heads above water.
“It’s hard to keep the house on a steady diet, but we have a lot of people that are not taking their responsibilities seriously,” said farmer Mike Cope, a farmer and president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.
“We’re not going to be able to grow as much as we should if we don’t start to diversify our farming activities.”
He is worried about what might happen when the new owner tries to get rid of some of the land, and said he is also worried about the quality of land.
“The more you buy land, the more it gets contaminated with toxins.
I’m very concerned,” Cope said.”
You can’t say that the property is good.
There’s always going to have to be problems.
That’s the way it is in the real estate business.”