Ag Policy Connection Ep. 9 — What should carry the most weight in deciding how land gets used?

There are many priorities that influence how land is used — the need for housing and economic development often drives the conversion of farmland and natural habitat into urban or suburban landscapes, but food security, productivity, biodiversity, crop or livestock prices, renewable energy policy, and of course, NIMBYism are among the many factors that can affect what happens on any given acre or hectare.

Bigger picture decisions on how land gets used often fall to people who are looking to get re-elected, which can lead to policies that favour short-term political rewards at the expense of planning for the best use of land in the long term.

This episode of the Ag Policy Connection explores the competitive and contentious terrain of land-use policy, what motivations should carry the most weight in land-use decisions, the unintended consequences when certain aspects of the value of land are not clearly understood, and how these policies shape Canadian agriculture in the future.

Our guests for this episode are both passionate about this topic, as you will hear. They are:

– Margaret Zafiriou, research associate with CAPI, whose Twitter bio describes her as “an economist who loves agriculture and a good debate.” Margaret has written several research papers on this topic of land-use policy.
– Martin Straathof, executive director of the Ontario Farmland Trust, has had a front row seat for land-use policy development and politics in southern Ontario over the last few years.

Watch/listen below or in any podcast app!

Find previous episodes of the Ag Policy Connection here.

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