What owns the land: the corporate organization of farmland investment

Loka Ashwood, John Canfield, Madeleine Fairbairn, Kathryn De Master

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Novel investment vehicles continue to dominate discussions of the financial entities driving the global land rush. However, less attention has been devoted to the mundane elements of such investment, primarily the corporate structure that undergirds it. Using US public records, our analysis reveals how absentee and complex corporate structures enable the financialization of farmland. While the latest farmland investment has the fresh face of the who, such as private equity funds, we conclude that the what of its corporate skeleton is older, calling for dialogue between studies of corporate organization, landownership, and financialization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-262
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Peasant Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture under grant 2017-68006-26347; [U.S. Department of Agriculture]. Ashwood and Canfield shared first-author responsibilities for this paper and are listed alphabetically. The majority of the research and writing for this project was completed while Ashwood and Canfield were affiliated with Auburn University’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology. The reviewers played a formative role in the paper’s final form, and we thank them for their crucial insights.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Financialization
  • absentee ownership
  • corporations
  • investment
  • landownership
  • property

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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