Foreign and domestic investment are spiking for Canadian Corn because of global warming and a drought in the Corn Belt region of the United States. Climate change and the resulting increase in temperatures in the last 50 years have extended the growing season in Canada’s Prairie Provinces approximately two weeks. The Prairie Provinces: Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba have long been big producers of wheat, but are now beginning to incorporate and in some cases completely switch to corn. This is due to a decrease in corn supply in the drought-ridden Midwest region of the United States, high demand for the crop, and the fact that corn has a higher yield than wheat on a per acre basis.
Farmland in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba is being sought after by investors who are looking to capitalize on the huge potential for corn production in the vast prairies of this region. Another perk for investors is that farmland in Canada is significantly cheaper than farmland in the United States. However, a barrier to entry exists for foreign investors. The Prairie Provinces currently limits individual foreign investors to owning 10-40 acres of land because of the belief that land is a natural resource and should be owned and controlled by the people of Canada, not foreign investors. If these restrictions are not adjusted, Canada will surely miss out on a chance to maximize foreign investment.
Canadian researchers predict a 6° F increase in regional temperatures in the next 50 years. If this prediction is accurate on a global scale, the effects would undoubtedly be devastating to earth’s ecosystems and wildlife. But putting all predictions and environmental issues aside, what could a warmer climate mean for crop production worldwide? It is likely that regions with once cooler climates, for instance northern Russia and northern Canada, would be able to produce crops that would have before perished in a short, cold growing season. On the other hand, warm regions that currently produce crops might no longer be able to because of extreme temperatures and the likelihood of frequent droughts.
There is little doubt that in the present and in years to come, climate change will play a huge role in agriculture. For the Prairie Provinces in Canada, climate change has led to innovation and investment opportunities. It will be interesting to see going forward the impacts climate change will have on regions around the world.