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  #1  
Old 02-07-2013, 12:33 AM
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The Global Farmland Rush: dark side of capitalism, chapt. 34

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/06/opinion/the-global-farmland-rush.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130206&_r=0

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OVER the last decade, as populations have grown, capital has flowed across borders and crop yields have leveled off, food-importing nations and private investors have been securing land abroad to use for agriculture. Poor governments have embraced these deals, but their people are in danger of losing their patrimony, not to mention their sources of food.

According to Oxfam, land equivalent to eight times the size of Britain was sold or leased worldwide in the last 10 years. In northern Mozambique, a Brazilian-Japanese venture plans to farm more than 54,000 square miles — an area comparable to Pennsylvania and New Jersey combined — for food exports. In 2009, a Libyan firm leased 386 square miles of land from Mali without consulting local communities that had long used it. In the Philippines, the government is so enthusiastic to promote agribusiness that it lets foreigners register partnerships with local investors as domestic corporations.

The commoditization of global agriculture has aggravated the destabilizing effects of these large-scale land grabs. Investors typically promise to create local jobs and say that better farming technologies will produce higher crop yields and improve food security.

However, few of these benefits materialize. For example, as The Economist reported, a Swiss company promised local farmers 2,000 new jobs when it acquired a 50-year lease to grow biofuel crops on 154 square miles in Makeni, Sierra Leone; in the first three years, it produced only 50.

Many investors, in fact, use their own labor force, not local workers, and few share their technology and expertise. Moreover, about two-thirds of foreign investors in developing countries expect to sell their harvests elsewhere. These exports may not even be for human consumption. In 2008 in Sudan, the United Arab Emirates was growing sorghum, a staple of the Sudanese diet, to feed camels back home.


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Old 02-07-2013, 01:36 AM
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When I lived back east, I always used to see a lot of land not being put to any apparent use that looked like it would make good farm or pasture land. No one did anything to it and it was naturally green, so you could grow something useful on it, right?

Here, what little land is good for farming gets used for farming. BLM owns a lot of land that is ok for low intensity cattle or sheep grazing, but not much else. I'd like to see BLM give up a lot of that land in favor of state or local control or (gasp) private ownership.
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  #3  
Old 02-07-2013, 07:20 AM
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Profit is made from increased efficiencies.
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
Profit is made from increased efficiencies.

That is certainly the truth! What took multiple workers to farm about 60 or 70 years ago is done by one person and expen$ive machinery these days.

I noticed the other day, that a new High Boy, a relatively simple piece of farm machinery now costs about a 1/4 million bucks.
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  #5  
Old 02-08-2013, 01:40 AM
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Land costs have increased dramaticly in my area over the past few years. 5 - 15K per acre isn't uncommon. The ratio is about 50:1 in terms of cost to productive value.

Farm land is taxed at 25% of residential but that can be adjusted if needed. There's some fear that a large portion of taxes will be shifted over to farmers because their land is worth so more, even though they require very little in terms of services from local government.
Not sure how it will play out. Farm land is rising in price faster than housing and it could stay that way for a while. This is also increasing the cost of rented land which is about 200.00 per acre on average.
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:11 AM
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I have been thinking about aquiring a decent acreage for the extended familys future. While they are still available cheap. Just in case the general economy ever gets into really serious difficulty. Get it close to a built up area and in future years it may even become a housing development for them to profit from.

At least they could feed themselves and basic farmland locally if not of a size that interests large growers is still fairly cheap still. It could even be rented out for now or worked with smaller equipment than is now common if the farmed portion where not too large.

Since the worlds population continues to seriously expand in past and recent times food production and cost will always be a growth area. Taxes locally on a small farm are minimal . No one can acuratly predict the longer term with any real certainty. It may be a better thing to leave instead of all cash and the type of assets that are not really self sustaining for our survivors and decendants yet to come.
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Air&Road View Post
I noticed the other day, that a new High Boy, a relatively simple piece of farm machinery now costs about a 1/4 million bucks.
What is a "tall boy?"
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:42 AM
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What is a "tall boy?"
a 16 oz. beer of course
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:11 PM
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a 16 oz. beer of course
Silly me.
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
Profit is made from increased efficiencies.
All bow to the God of profit.

Something unseemly about impoverishing people in their own back yard so that nations who have paved over their farmland in pursuit of profit and general over-population can use that farmland for their own purposes.
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by cmac2012 View Post
All bow to the God of profit.

Something unseemly about impoverishing people in their own back yard so that nations who have paved over their farmland in pursuit of profit and general over-population can use that farmland for their own purposes.
Find a way to make family farming more profitable.
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  #12  
Old 02-09-2013, 12:57 PM
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One of my daughters and her husband purchased a show house near their cities limits. They called me in for a home inspection after they commited to the purchase. A show house to me is one that both exceeds the occupants requirements and is very overstated. Everything with it being very high end.

If they had approached me earlier I would have suggested buying a farm just outside the limits instead and reworking or replacing the house if required. Would have cost a simular dollar. The area is the growth centre of Canada at present from a city perspective and was becoming so back then.Or to me was showing the right signs of going in that direction.

My logic was simple the farm property broken up and developed into housing at some point in their future would have been a major benifit for them. Where I was wrong was the time frame. All those smaller farms where developed into sub divisions only about five years later. The house they purchased rather than one of the local farms for sale theoretically may have cost them millions.

What I saw was very obvious but at our age not practical I though. I could have picked up one of those farms for very little. Nobody was aware things would move as fast as they did or I would have. Even in the current economy they cannot seem to build enough new homes and they are not cheap homes in that vicinity. A good percentage of the younger proffessional population of the maritimes are gravitating to that place.

The place is well geared towards younger people. It also seemed to shrug off the economic slowdown that occured over most areas of north america.
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  #13  
Old 02-10-2013, 02:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
Find a way to make family farming more profitable.
Money is an imperfect instrument. Not everything can be accurately reduced to monetary value or profit.
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  #14  
Old 02-10-2013, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by cmac2012 View Post
Money is an imperfect instrument. Not everything can be accurately reduced to monetary value or profit.
Very true but every effort seems to revolve around making it more so that way. The smaller family farm if not totally dead seems close to it. Certainly the current structure does not cater to it in any way I see. Farmers were never able to properly organise. Still the middle man ground in the food supply chain was taken over by concerns that became very wealthy commercial giants.

There should be a way enable small farms to survive properly in some fashion. Our food in north america is very cheap at this time in relation to average earnings.

There may not be or almost certainly wil not be the amount of indusrial employment there once was in north america. You would think people would be better off on smaller farms than sitting in larger built up areas on some form of public assistance. This growth area to me is overall socially destructive.

There are hundreds of acres of farmland on three sides of our home producing absolutly nothing now. Even if just planted in potatoes for example should be able to keep one family going if the marketing system for them were a level playing field. Currently it is my belief the farmer only gets a very small portion of the retail pricing. Too small to make it practical to produce moderate amounts of product currently.

Last edited by barry12345; 02-10-2013 at 09:47 AM.
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  #15  
Old 02-10-2013, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barry12345 View Post
I have been thinking about aquiring a decent acreage for the extended familys future. While they are still available cheap. Just in case the general economy ever gets into really serious difficulty. Get it close to a built up area and in future years it may even become a housing development for them to profit from.

At least they could feed themselves and basic farmland locally if not of a size that interests large growers is still fairly cheap still. It could even be rented out for now or worked with smaller equipment than is now common if the farmed portion where not too large.

Since the worlds population continues to seriously expand in past and recent times food production and cost will always be a growth area. Taxes locally on a small farm are minimal . No one can acuratly predict the longer term with any real certainty. It may be a better thing to leave instead of all cash and the type of assets that are not really self sustaining for our survivors and decendants yet to come.
Smart thinking there.

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