WASHINGTON D.C. – According to a report released today by leading environmental and social justice advocates, the investment management firm TIAA is leading a trend of speculating in land markets, which drives up farmland prices and displaces family farmers. TIAA also has significant holdings in Southeast Asian palm oil companies known for ravaging tropical forests, abusing workers and indigenous peoples, and driving species to the brink of extinction, the report reveals.
Ask any family farmer and they will tell you that land is an increasingly valuable, scarce, and critical resource for their survival. Many people would also agree with our nation’s founders that widespread and equitable access to land not only provides economic security and food sovereignty, but also makes political democracy possible.
If this is true, then why are fewer and fewer entities being allowed to control more and more of our land in the United States? A century ago over 90% of farm land was actually owned by those who tilled it, but today that amount is under 50%. In the next decade over 400 million acres of U.S. land is expected to change hands – but who will inherit...