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The Financialization of Farming: The Hancock Company of Canada and its Embedding in Rural Australia

Transforming the Rural

ISBN: 978-1-78714-824-6, eISBN: 978-1-78714-823-9

Publication date: 30 June 2017


This chapter examines the involvement of finance companies in the purchasing and leasing of Australian farmlands. This is a new global phenomenon as, in past decades, finance companies have lent money to farmers, but have rarely sought to purchase land themselves. We investigate and discuss the activities of the Hancock company – an asset management firm that invested in farmland in northern NSW. Material on the activities of Hancock and other investment firms were obtained from documents on the public record, including newspaper reports. Semi-structured interviews with community members were conducted in the region of NSW where Hancock operated. Australian agriculture is being targeted for investment by companies in the finance industry – as part of a growing ‘financialization’ of farming. While it is financially beneficial for companies to invest, they do not do so in ‘empty spaces’ but in locations where people desire to live in a healthy environment. The Hancock company was criticized by community residents for failing to recognize the concerns of local people in pursuing its farming activities. To date, there have been few studies on the financialization of farming in Australia. By investigating the operations of the Hancock company we identify a number of concerns emerging, at the community level, about an overseas company running Australian-based farms.




Emeritus Professor Lawrence received funding from the Australian Research Council (Project Nos. DP 110102299 and DP 160101318), the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2010-330-00159) and the Norwegian Research Council (FORFOOD Project No. 220691).


Sippel, S.R., Lawrence, G. and Burch, D. (2017), "The Financialization of Farming: The Hancock Company of Canada and its Embedding in Rural Australia", Transforming the Rural (Research in Rural Sociology and Development, Vol. 24), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 3-23.



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