Thursday, May 1, 2014

"Wolves Gobbling Up Farmland"

Enthusiasm for agriculture as an investment “borders on speculative mania,” and “the wolves of Wall Street are eyeing millions of acres of U.S. farmland that will soon come up for sale, much of which has been in the hands of family farmers for generations.”

That’s from a report by the Oakland Institute, Down on the Farm — Wall Street: America’s New Farmer.

Institutional investors — including hedge funds, private equity, pension funds, and university endowments — “have trained their sights on America's agricultural infrastructure," says Lukas Ross, an Oakland Institute Fellow and author of the report. "If they succeed in consolidating control over our land and infrastructure, this new class of land barons could imperil our nation's food supply."

It's hard to appreciate and understand the change in America's economy and especially in agriculture the past ten years. The last six years has seen huge changes in both economies.  The American economy crashed and nearly burned while the ag sector flourished.  $8.20 corn and $15 soybeans changed rents, land cost and inputs, drastically.  We are still adjusting to the change.  Even though very few people enjoyed much of those record prices, expectations were based off them.

Personally, I haven't seen "Wall Street Wolves" prowling around here but where they have, they affected local economies, too.  Maybe the upper middle class had a chance to act like them?  Those of us in agriculture have had more money to spend than other sectors of the economy and now we must pay those prices just to operate.

The truth is many agricultural parcels have changed ownership the past ten years, some before the Wall Street crash, and some after.  The landscape of land price and rent has changed.

How we respond to these changes will determine our profitability in the future.

How has your local economy performed compared to the ag sector?  Here, there is a vast difference.

Ed Winkle

4 comments:

  1. It all works out fine because all the new people in Ag are pretty horrible and it makes you not WANT to be a farmer. You can always sell no GMO feed to yuppies with chickens.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Maybe they will invest in the vineyards here and all go broke!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks! Muddy, I really like that Coat of Arms on your website and your blogs have been great last month.

    Ed

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