By Tom Collins
OTTAWA — A University of Ottawa student is doing PhD research on why Eastern Ontario farmers are selling land or not selling land and who’s buying it.
Christopher Kelly-Bisson, 31, ran an organic vegetable market garden renting an acre of land in the Ottawa greenbelt for three years. He wanted to expand into hops production, but found that land was “exorbitantly expensive” for a non-farmer to purchase.
That led him to his PhD topic about who is buying farmland. He wants to talk to any farmer — from Lennox-Addington and Renfrew counties up to the Quebec border — who has been in touch with a financial investor at any time about selling his land, even if the farmer decided not to sell.
Kelly-Bisson said many farmers have heard stories of financers and Chinese investors either buying up land for development or swooping in when a farm is on the verge of bankruptcy, buying up the farm and renting it back to the farmer.
“I’m hoping to substantiate these claims if they are happening,” he said. “I suspect there’s some likelihood to it.”
The confidential interviews can take at least an hour and can be done over the phone, on the farm or at Kelly-Bisson’s university office. If interested, call 613-220-1152 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.