AGRO 896: Land Grabs in the Global South

Rows of combines harvesting crops.
Spring 2019: Cancelled.
Instructors: Charles "Chuck" Francis, Ph.D.
                          Amy Swoboda, J.D. (email)

Class No.: AGRO 896.
The undergraduate section has been cancelled for the spring.
2. The graduate section will be taught online in section number 796.

Credits: Three academic credits - undergraduate or graduate.

Apply to UNL as a Non-degree seeking graduate or undergraduate student.

Register for Academic Credit via MyRed.  See last year's flyer.


Large land acquisitions in countries in the Global South are among the defining issues of our time, impacting local ownership, food security, and food sovereignty. This course is designed for in-class and on-line interaction and experiential learning about local and global issues related to changes in land ownership, an emerging phenomenon that is re-shaping the agricultural landscape in both developed and developing countries. Loss of farmland to other uses plus concentration of ownership have immediate impacts on local food production and food sovereignty, reducing access to land by limited-resource and beginning farmers.  Free market policies and scales of production efficiency for commodity food production clearly drive consolidation of lands in a process often claimed to be the only viable way to increase investment, improve technologies, increase exports, and feed a growing global population. Research and education on these land ownership issues are vital to inform policy, development agendas, and strategies for long-term sustainability of food production, food security, food sovereignty and ecosystem services. Open-ended case studies will guide our study of production, economic, environmental, and social impacts of land ownership changes. This course is designed for concerned students who are expected to be key players in discovering and evaluating key references, designing their own cases, modifying the open-ended case method as an educational strategy, and contributing to future strategies for education about land ownership changes through what they develop.

In this course, you will:

  • Learn key terminology, assess magnitude of land grabs, identify major players and motivations;
  • Explore open-ended cases and importance of searching for and evaluating data;
  • Create an in-depth open ended case, and present this as a tool for others to learn; and
  • Develop viable action scenarios and evaluate a priori the outcomes of those scenarios.

Internet / Canvas / Plant & Soil Science eLibrary / eExtension


Materials will be online in Canvas and/or the Plant & Soil Science eLibrary.
See the introduction video at


High-speed Internet access, email and the ability to view video or flash files.  Recommended Internet browsers are Firefox, Chrome and Safari.


Admission to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The Land Grab course is offered for upper division undergraduate and graduate students on campus and by distance with lectures and discussion posted on a website. Consult the UNL catalogue for further registration information.


Academic Credit Course: For information on tuition and fees, please visit the Student Accounts website for Graduate Tuition.