Demand for specialty crops such as potatoes, and the growth of the biofuels industry also increased the demand for farmland, especially in the central and northern regions, the agricultural lender said in its spring report.
Alberta's increase was second only to the increase in B.C., where a big demand in the grape-growing region of the Southern Okanagan caused prices to jump 14.5 per cent.
Many Alberta farmers are selling their land at high prices for urban and industrial use, especially in the urban fringes of the Lethbridge-to-Grande Prairie corridor, the report said. They are then relocating to other parts of the province, increasing the demand for more remote land.
Countrywide, prices increased 7.7 per cent in the second half of 2007, the biggest rise since January 2000.
Remi Lemoine, FCC senior vice-president, said the number of people looking for farmland is growing, and ranges from foreign and domestic investors to urban buyers, absentee landowners and traditional producers.
Edmonton Journal April 14, 2008