This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Corporation and the DNA of Farmland Financialization




Canfield, John Jr

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology


Although farmland has long been understood to be an investment, policies shaping the economy, intensified by the 2007-2008 food crisis, have given rise to a new paradigm in which, for a set of major investors, farmland is considered more of a financial asset than a productive one. This thesis proposes an innovative archival methodology to observe the financialization of farmland. Studying McDonough and Fulton Counties, Illinois, I demonstrate how ownership records derived from Nexis Public Records compare with tax parcel data. I find that the multilayered subsidiary form serves as a marker for farmland financialization. Based on these findings, I propose a new definition of farmland financialization that accounts for the role of the corporation. I also perform a case study of the largest publicly traded farmland REIT in the U.S. and use neo-Polanyian and Granovetterian theory to observe the role of financial ties in the farmland financialization process