chapter  6
‘Like gold with yield’: evolving intersections between farmland and finance
ByMadeleine Fairbairn
Pages 20

At the turn of the twenty-first century, farmland was still considered an investment backwater by most of the financial sector. Although some insurance companies have had farmland holdings for years, most institutional investors found farmland, and agricultural investment in general, unappealing compared to the much higher returns to be made in financial markets. However, this began to shift around 2007 as the prices of agricultural commodities started to climb. The recession that began with the bursting of the US housing bubble in 2008 caused the sector to suffer a momentary dip but also added fuel to the fire, as investors sought alternative, and more secure, places to put their money. The effects of the resulting farmland investment boom can be seen in both the Global South and the Global North. The large ‘land grabs’ (GRAIN 2008) taking place in developing countries have their parallel in roaring land prices in countries with more developed

land markets (Knight Frank 2011), which have led to speculation about a possible land price bubble (Abbott 2011).1