Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Alfred Hecht

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This thesis identifies and examines how people look for farms. In it the actual search rather than the decision to seek additional or alternative locations is the focus. It is estimated that the sample of farmers interviewed and surveyed consists of 50 per cent of those who had undergone the process of relocation/expansion in the past two years in the Niagara region of Ontario. The analytic framework used is adopted from a case study of intra-urban mobility. Therefore, this study is an attempt to transpose those urban concepts to an agricultural situation. Five important sets of variables of farmers are examined in relation to their agricultural location decision: (1) socio-demographic and economic characteristics, (2) housing/farming history, (3) a rationalization of the reasons for moving, (4) information sources, and (5) the characteristics of the actual search. Working hypotheses were tested using the Spearman rank-corelation test as well as the Kendall test. The results indicate that a positive relationship exists between the time spent searching and the number of alternatives examined, the time spent searching and the size of the search area, and the time spent searching and the distance of the move. Furthermore, Chi square tests indicated that ‘familiarity with the area’ is important in the search and that real estate agents and direct personal contact are the major information channels used by the searchers. Nevertheless, different groups exhibit different biases toward different information sources. Barrett’s Indices of Search Behavior are presented in this thesis as well so that an analysis of the alternative locations can be made. On the whole the data on agricultural land search period is short, and restricted to a small area. The study concludes that agricultural and intra-urban search behavior differs mainly in degree rather than kind. Different types of farmers exhibited differences in their search behavior. The differences are attributed to the role of the vacancies of the market and the consequent effects of an immobile residence.

Convocation Year