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G. Kins

Pirates of the Pacific

I didnt realize this was an issue but farmers have one of the hardest jobs, one that pretty much demands perfect mental health in order to persist and overcome the various problems. Chemical exposures probably dont help with that. Organophosphate pesticides come to mind. Its quite a gamble in money, health, and spiritual devotion. Parkinsons and suicide are 2x higher for farmers twice as high as military vets. Trump said farmers would not be forgotten... any one else out there who is struggling, you are not alone. Work together with others and things will get better.. two heads is better than one find someone else who has the same problem and then kick the crap out of it, so to speak, with some real solutions? Hope that advice helps you.

12/19/2019 6:59:54 PM

bnot

Oak Grove, Mn

Honestly, I don't have great sympathy for the american farmers. If you take the average farmer...their net worth is way above the average american's net worth. Yes, there are some farmers that struggle...but most are sitting on millions of dollars of assets. Do you want to be a farmer Glenomkins...good luck....do you have millions to break into this career option?

12/19/2019 7:06:07 PM

Porkchop(team sLamMer)

Central NY

Wow...

12/19/2019 8:19:22 PM

HankH

Partlow,Va

bnot you have no clue what you are talking about

12/19/2019 8:20:45 PM

Spudley (Scott)

Alaska

There are lots of small farms in Alaska. Some are organic some are not. Most of them have a second job to make ends meet. They are hard working honest people. They farm because it stirs their souls. They love what they do. They don't your sympathy. They just hope you'll buy their products.

12/19/2019 9:01:18 PM

Spudley (Scott)

Alaska

They don't "want" your sympathy I meant to say.

12/19/2019 9:02:33 PM

Spudley (Scott)

Alaska

Trump's only concern is for the large scale high-yield corporate farms that get subsidies either not to grow or get subsidies to make up for the tariffs he imposed on their products being sold to China. These kind of farmers are well connected in Washington.They are the ones who use GMOs so they can spray Roundup on a massive scale.

12/19/2019 9:14:41 PM

Spudley (Scott)

Alaska

And let's not forget it was the Barack Obama administration that started the NRCS high tunnel program in 2010. That program targeted the small farmer the entrepreneur who wanted to get into farming. In places where high tunnels are needed to extend the season like here in Alaska the program has taken off and done tremendous things for our agricultural output.

12/19/2019 9:27:40 PM

G. Kins

Pirates of the Pacific

If I am correct about many farmers they are proud and independent types who dont go around asking for sympathy when they are down on luck but its true that some do get lucky. I dont want an economics debate. Its just an awareness issue... Try to be sensitive and aware bnot. You may make friends with a farmer near you and then change your mind. But its up to you to reach out. Farmers are proud, independent people and they arent going to come knock on your door and say 'woe is me'... Iike everyone else. The big corporate farm industry will lobby complain but many do sacrifice a lot and do not complain... And thats exactly why they deserve extra respect and attention, if we can spare some, then thats a positive thing, and hurts no one. Even if you do accidentally care about a wealthy farmer I doubt they will look at you funny. They would probably be completely gracious and might even pay it forward... Its the correct time of year to be jolly, man!

12/19/2019 9:30:16 PM

Porkchop(team sLamMer)

Central NY

pffft...what a liar...full of bullshiff spuds

12/19/2019 9:35:22 PM

Iggy55.5

Delevan

yep wow

12/19/2019 9:36:41 PM

Iowegian

Anamosa, IA BPIowegian@aol.com

Farmers are in an unusual position. Buyers set the price, not the sellers. It costs a huge fortune to plant a crop, and they are taking a risk on weather, insects, disease, crop production in other parts of the world, politics, etc. Most farmers in my area are over 50 years old. It is very difficult to get into farming unless you inherit a farm. You can invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a piece of equipment, like a combine, that sits idle 10 to 11 months of the year. You have to be an agronomist, entomologist, chemist, financier, marketer, plant and animal breeder. You have many layers of government to deal with (NRCS, FSA, EPA, Corps of Engineers, State, federal, county laws, crop insurance). Multiple permits required. You need to be mechanic, carpenter, equipment operator, veterinarian, truck driver. You need to be proficient operating computers and GPS, adjusting sprayers, planters, harvesting equipment. You need to know which government programs can help you, and they keep changing all the time. You have to know when to sell, when to store your crop, and outguess the weatherman. All of this to maybe make a few bucks per acre. They work around huge dangerous equipment and animals. They have to work in all kinds of weather, are exposed to dust, chemicals and other hazards. Farmers probably have one of the most complex, dangerous jobs in the country.

The high tunnel program was added to the EQIP program, which started long before Obama and continued to evolve over many years. They have been used all over the country, including Iowa. I helped a few people apply and get approved for them. There are lots of very good components of EQIP, CRP and other USDA programs.

12/19/2019 9:58:13 PM

Iowegian

Anamosa, IA BPIowegian@aol.com

I had the privilege of working in a county with innovative, intelligent farmers who were very conservation minded. The conservation ethic dates back to the CCC camp that was in my county back during the great depression. I can still show people terraces, grade control structures, and tree plantations that were established over 80 years ago and are still maintained.

Most farmers in my county grow GMO crops because they are more profitable. You don't see weeds or volunteer corn in the soybean fields, shattercane in the corn fields. When you drive the roads on a summer night, your windshield doesn't get covered with corn borer moths in just a few miles. You no longer smell the stench of the hazardous rootworm insecticides in the spring. Dangerous chemicals like paraquat and atrazine aren't used. Average crop yields doubled over the 30 years I worked for SCS/NRCS.

Subsidies not to grow now amount to the CRP program. It provides protection to our most fragile lands, protects surface water and well heads, provides wildlife and pollinator habitat, stops snow drifting on roads, stops wind erosion and protects air quality. We get several dollars benefit for every tax dollar.

Small farmers as well as big farmers benefit from the program to protect them from the effects of the tariffs. Some republicans, like Chuck Grassley have been fighting for many years to eliminate subsidies for the huge operators.

Farmers are giving us cheap safe food and doing what they can to protect the environment.

12/19/2019 10:15:45 PM

Iowegian

Anamosa, IA BPIowegian@aol.com

At the end of FY 2008 (1 month before Obama was elected) there were 34,612,692 acres in the Conservation Reserve program. But during the Obama administration the Farm Bill reduced the cap of CRP acreage to a maximum of 24,000,000 acres. That means that over 10 Million acres of sensitive lands (highly erodible land, filter strips along water, wildlife and pollinator habitat, etc.) were plowed up and put into crop production.

The new Farm Bill, passed by the republican congress and signed into law by President Trump, raised the cap to 27 million acres. That means another 3 million acres will be protected. A new signup for the increased acres has been announced. Cleaner water. More wildlife and bees. Cleaner air. Less fertilizer and chemicals used. More carbon sequestered in the soil. And the vast majority of those acres will be enrolled by small farmers. Iowa is the #1 state for CRP payments, and most of that is small farmers. And every dollar we spend om the program will be multiplied several times by the benefits the public will receive.

So when you try to praise Obama and criticize Trump based on farm policies, you need to get your facts straight.

Maybe grain prices are lower, but that means more profit for livestock farmers due to cheaper feed. And now that Trump and China have reached a phase one trade agreement, grain and meat prices will be going up. With the terrible swine disease that is hitting the eastern hemisphere, China will be buying lots of pork. As they buy, prices will go up, and domestic demand and price for beef will go up. Time to fill your freezers before prices start going up.

12/19/2019 10:49:29 PM

Spudley (Scott)

Alaska

Thinking about buying a high tunnel to extend your growing season? USDA might pay most of the cost – if you qualify for Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds.

Overseen by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative is funded through EQIP. The primary goal of the initiative, which helps agricultural producers purchase high tunnels, is to extend the growing season. Improving soil health and managing pests are other considerations, said Mark Rose, NRCS EQIP team leader.

The high tunnel initiative was started in 2010 as a pilot project, but is now offered in all 50 states. Through it, more than 7,800 high tunnels have been installed or planned across the country, with EQIP contributing $44.7 million toward the purchase and installation of those tunnels. In addition, about $16 million has already been committed for fiscal year 2013, according to Rose.

The top five states to use the high tunnel program are Missouri, Alaska, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

12/19/2019 11:48:24 PM

Spudley (Scott)

Alaska

Seasonal High Tunnels Funded in Fiscal Year 2010
After receiving nearly 3,000 applications for seasonal high tunnels, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) obligated $13 million in fiscal year (FY) 2010 for 2,422 seasonal high tunnels in 43 states.

Seasonal high tunnels are structures made of plastic or metal pipe and covered with plastic or other sheeting. Easy to build, maintain, and move, they provide an energy-efficient way to extend the growing season. Unlike greenhouses, they require no energy, relying on natural sunlight to modify the climate inside to create favorable conditions for growing vegetable and other specialty crops.

NRCS offered the seasonal high tunnels (officially called “seasonal high tunnel system for crops”) as a conservation practice for the first time in FY 2010 as part of a three-year trial to determine their effectiveness in conserving water, keeping nutrients in the soil, increasing yields, and reducing transport of agricultural pesticides. The table below shows the states that obligated funding for the high tunnels FY 2010.

12/20/2019 12:17:18 AM

Porkchop(team sLamMer)

Central NY

“After receiving nearly 3,000 applications for seasonal high tunnels, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) obligated $13 million in fiscal year (FY) 2010 for 2,422 seasonal high tunnels in 43 states.”......and nobody said a word....lol...we are so dumb to elect these people.

12/20/2019 12:22:35 AM

Spudley (Scott)

Alaska

The 2008 farm bill was passed by the Democratic-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate only to be vetoed by George Bush. But his veto was overridden by both houses that's how the farm bill got passed. Then Barack Obama became our president. Thank you Barack.

12/20/2019 1:53:06 AM

Spudley (Scott)

Alaska

More and more people are aware of GMO products nobody wants to consume products that were treated with Roundup. Monsanto's argument is "if it's used as directed" it's safe. However scientific studies show that it causes cancer in lab animals and wildlife. For decades we were told DDT was safe too.

12/20/2019 2:29:33 AM

bnot

Oak Grove, Mn

I thought I would create a stir. Yes, I am familiar with farming. The first years of my life was spent on family farm...until my Dad lost his hand in a combine. He went back to college, got his degree and started working for the FHA. My grandfather was too old to run the family farm, my dad was handicapped and I was a toddler. The farm was sold. Thru the years, talking with my Dad, I kept up on what was happening in the agricultural section. I am not talking about the hobby farms, where the owners primary income is something other than farming. Many farms in this part of the country are thousands of acres. A few years ago, I know that good farmland was selling somewhere around $10,000 acre in Minnesota. How many people could afford to move from the city to a career as a farmer? I looked on the internet, the average farm household income rose above the median income level in the USA sometime in the mid 2000's. Land appreciation is where the value is. Obviously, there are farmers on this board. My apology, if I offended you.

12/20/2019 4:58:10 AM

fisherray

rochester ny

bnot, you dont have a clue about the "average" farmer.

12/20/2019 7:29:40 AM

Iowegian

Anamosa, IA BPIowegian@aol.com

Ronnie Raygun's proposed budget for the Soil Conservation Service was shutdown costs. I know, I started there in 83. Congress didn't go along. The passed the 85 Farm Bill and Reagan signed it. That started the CRP, Conservation Compliance and Swampbuster. It tied farm subsidies to practicing a minimum amount of soil protection on highly erodible land and protecting wetlands.

The EQIP program which funds high tunnels was started by the 96 farm bill under Bush the First.

The 2008 Farm Bill started the CSP program, which basically paid farmers for what conservation they were already doing and gave them some payments for doing more. It was not offered to everyone, just in limited areas. It took money that could have paid for new conservation to pay for stuff that was already done. It was a paperwork nightmare for NRCS, basically taking people out of the fields where they were designing new projects and putting them behind desks where they generated paperwork and computer reports.

12/20/2019 8:22:06 AM

Iowegian

Anamosa, IA BPIowegian@aol.com

The 13 million spent on high tunnels was 0.00037% of the total federal budget. A tiny amount. 4 cents for every person in the country. The people who got that money spent about the same amount out of their own pockets too. Vegetable production with all of the tillage involved can be very hard on the soil. By keeping rain off the soil, tunnels prevent erosion. Farmers getting money for the tunnels were required to adequately control rain runoff. It allowed small operators to compete with the huge corporate farms, spread food production across the country. It was not intended to be simply a money giveaway or a permanent program. It was intended as a demonstration project to spread awareness of the benefits across the country.

And if you thing the Farm Bill is too expensive and just a huge cash cow for farmers, here is something to consider. Around 80% of the money Congress allocates to USDA is for Food Stamps, now called SNAP. It is simply welfare that has nothing to do with farming.

12/20/2019 8:23:01 AM

Iowegian

Anamosa, IA BPIowegian@aol.com

The WHO used anecdotal evidence from Africa, not scientific studies to claim that glyphosate is a "probable" carcinogen. All the scientific failed to show that link. Remember that WHO is part of the UN. And the UN represents lots of repressive governments that want to keep their people hungry. If they control the food, they control the people. That is why a lot of food aid we send overseas is intercepted by oppressive governments that use it to feed their ruling class and keep their main population hungry.

Roundup replaced Paraquat. Paraquat simply burned off the tops of weeds and they came back from the roots. Paraquat is highly toxic; breathe in just a little and it turns your lungs into Rice Krispies and you die. The feds sprayed it on marijuana fields, growers harvested before the plants died, and many pot heads got severe lung damage from smoking contaminated weed. Roundup also replaces stuff like 2-4-D and 2-4-5-T, AKA Agent Orange. It nearly eliminated the use of Atrazine and similar chemicals that persist in the environment for many years, are toxic and carcinogenic and get into our water. I agree that Roundup is used way too much and it will be replaced as weeds gain resistance. But it made notill practical, saved a tremendous amount of soil, increased crop yields, eliminated weeds, and fed lots of people. Sure we need to replace it, but it is far from the boogeyman that some people think.

Other GMO plants have greatly reduced insect problems. Farmers use very little of the highly toxic organophosphate insecticides. And they have been smart to prevent growing resistant bugs. Farmers are required to plant refuge areas where the bugs are not exposed. They don't develop resistance and pass the trait on to future generations. You see very little problems with wind knocking down crops because the bugs that weaken roots and stalks aren't there.

12/20/2019 8:36:38 AM

Smallmouth (Team Ozark)

Missouri

Bnot, just because someone is sitting on millions of dollars of assets to farm doesn't mean they own any of it if there were a liquidation. I'd a assume if they didn't inherit it, a lot of it is ""sat on" through borrowed money. I think you are talking about corporate vs family farming, and from what I understand there are grey areas defining the two.

12/20/2019 8:42:30 AM

DKrus

Cheshire Ma USA

I started off agreeing with Scott up until he felt the need to blame Trump [I guess he can't help it]for the farmers woes. It u is true teh farmers have suffered ,but the huge trade deal with China is almost complete as well as the Canada Mexico deal. These are HUGE deals that will not only benefit the farmers but the entire American economy !

12/20/2019 9:54:12 AM

bnot

Oak Grove, Mn

Two comments so far that I don’t know anything about farmers. Fisherray, first to come up with what is the average farmer we have to decide what is the definition of a farmer. Is the grower of organic vegetables on 5 acres producing specialty crops for restaurants a farmer. Is the person that plants 160 acres of corn or soybeans on family farm and drives over the road truck other than planting or harvest time a farmer. Is the person that has a thousand acres in CRP a farmer. My definition is what I was born on. Since the 1960’s I have watched farming evolve.

12/20/2019 10:22:28 AM

bnot

Oak Grove, Mn

In that time there have been years when many farms failed. Todays large farms could not have happened without it. You can’t make more land. Yes, I know about farm debt. My dad was a loan officer with the FHA. He told me about the well run operations and the ones he thought were not going to survive. Interesting you brought up corporate farms smallmouth. I think it is where farming will go in the next one hundred years. A billion dollar company could farm 100,000 acres. The employees could be specialized in one area or another. It makes financial sense but I would be sad to see the farms I love go away.

12/20/2019 10:28:17 AM

G. Kins

Pirates of the Pacific

Bnot... Sounds like you have heard all about the farms that did not make from your dad. Maybe at the time you were too young to care. . . Now that you are older, hopefully you can correctly choose between caring and not caring, and realize the truth is no farmers need contempt and scorn.
Anyhow, if your life ever becomes a struggle then maybe those who are struggling will be more like a brother to you? Be compassionate! Dont be opposed to the health and unity that struggling farmers should be encouraged to seek. For some, this is a life or death issue.
A lack of concern for those who are struggling is not healthy social engagement. If we do have the extra mental, spiritual and financial capacity to care about others, then doing so is a good/ godly choice!

12/20/2019 3:22:35 PM

Porkchop(team sLamMer)

Central NY

Good man buzzkill...

12/20/2019 3:56:18 PM

bnot

Oak Grove, Mn

I think you are reading my words wrong Glenomkins. I do not have contempt or scorn for the american farmers. But I accept reality. Not all farmers are going to keep going. Some will close operation because of bad luck, some from incorrect decisions, some will have offspring that do not desire the farming life, and some just will not have enough capital to begin with. Farming is a career, but also a business. How many businesses close per year. Yes, I can have compassion for an individual family that is struggling, but as a group, I envy them. I yearn for the time (1950's ?) when a young man that wanted to be a farmer had a good chance to become one, if he was dedicated enough. Now, I think the barrier to entry to this career is getting insurmountable. Farming has changed much in my lifetime...I think much more change is going to happen. Self driving cars are coming...what about self driving tractors. A billion dollar company that owned 100,000 acres could automate much.

12/20/2019 4:19:21 PM

bnot

Oak Grove, Mn

Speaking of compassion Glenomkins...are you going to look at agriculture from a Macro or Micro perspective. If you look at it from a micro perspective...yes it is very sad that some individual farmers are struggling, side note...some others are the wealthiest individuals in their area. If you look at it from a macro perspective...what is good for society. More food produced for less cost. The farms of hundred years ago were very inefficient. They were small. Thru time...many, many farms failed. This was terrible !, but land was made available for the more successful operations which grew bigger. As technology improved, larger scale becomes more profitable. Economics of scale. From the macro perspective (society in general)...the slow progression from small (less than 40 acres) to massive farms (greater than 10,000 acres) is beneficial. With land availability at a constant, the only way to increase the scalability is by farm failure. There is no easy right or wrong. Tell me I am uncompassionate...I look at things from multiple perspectives.

12/20/2019 6:03:24 PM

Iowegian

Anamosa, IA BPIowegian@aol.com

Land availability is not a constant. Urban sprawl is eating up lots of land. When crop prices go up, farmers are tempted to clear timber, plow up pastures to increase production, Greed. It wrecks the prices, then they have more cropland to lose money on. I saw that happen several times. And when government decides that wars are more important than conservation, the CRP gets cut by 10 million acres; more crops grown. Prices drop and the farmers are in trouble again. Through the late 80's and 90's, the government came up with the screwy Loan Deficiency Payment. If prices dropped below the government loan rate, they paid the farmers the difference. The more they grew, the bigger the payment was. And of course growing more meant lower prices and higher payments. It fed on itself and was totally messed up. And when the farmers decided they didn't want to pay off the crop loan, they just let the government take the grain.

Self driving tractors are here already. Been here for years. They have someone in the tractor just to monitor things and take over if something screws up. They have sub-inch accuracy. Soil tests are plotted on GPS. Fertilizer is applied according to the soil test, soil type, past yield maps, so nothing is over-applied and wasted. Combines have yield monitors, planters have plant population control. All run by GPS and computers. Precision agriculture. Better for the bottom line as well as the environment. By the time I retired from NRCS over 6 years ago, I was surveying ponds and other structures with GPS, using LiDAR generated topography to determine watersheds and pool areas. This is not the future. It has been here a long time.

12/20/2019 8:06:30 PM

bnot

Oak Grove, Mn

Thank you Iowegian...I was starting to think I was the only one with my perspective here. I have looked at urban sprawl....it most defininately is eating up farmland. The other tech you mentioned is not just today....it is the forever future of farmland. The family farm of 160-640 acres is history. Bemoan it if you wish..but the rest of the billions of the world population will wish the improvements come faster. Macro vs Micro.

12/20/2019 9:19:58 PM

26 West

Swamp Hoggers Paradise

I guess the old adage is true. "Land rich, Dollar poor".

12/21/2019 10:03:34 AM

G. Kins

Pirates of the Pacific

I dont think that at the end of the day that consolidation is pro-consumer or pro-environment or pro-security. That logic, while seeming to initially simplify things, cant be taken very far before it falls apart. It puts too many eggs in too few baskets? Whoever can afford a billion robots gets to own the entire Louisiana Purchase? I hope you see the many obvious flaws with that.

12/21/2019 11:22:27 AM

bnot

Oak Grove, Mn

Obviously, one entity controlling all the food supply would not be good. I think that consolidation will continue. Already the small grain (wheat) fields are huge. I think that corn and soybeans farms will keep getting bigger. What is more efficient...an operation with a few 1000 acres with bigger equipment or 25 operations of 40 acres using state of the art equipment designed in the 1940's. When corn was at $8 per bushel and soy beans were over $15, most operations could make money. Prices have come back down to historic normal levels. Efficiency of operation makes a difference in down price years.

12/21/2019 1:18:23 PM

Iowegian

Anamosa, IA BPIowegian@aol.com

Iowa and Minnesota learned a hard lesson about concentration of food production a few years ago. Northern Iowa is the top egg producer in the country, followed closely by southern Minnesota. And they raise a whole lot of turkeys, too. Huge confinement buildings. Then as the waterfowl migration came through, some sick ducks spread the avian flu. Once that gets in a confinement building, they have to destroy all the birds, burn or dispose of them where the disease won't spread, sanitize the buildings and let them sit idle for months to make sure it doesn't flare up again. Millions of birds were lost, and we had shortages of eggs and turkey. Big economic loss for farmers. All because they were concentrated in huge buildings in a small area.

12/21/2019 7:32:06 PM

bnot

Oak Grove, Mn

Now, that you brought the birds up....I thought I would mention corporate farming. Minnesota is one of 7 states that have laws restricting corporation farming. It is allowed only if the owners are family members. Glenomkins, your concern about someone taking a billion robots and farming the lousiana purchase is right now limited by some states corporation farming restrictions. Some companies are getting around it by contract farming...the corporations call it vertical integration but basically are telling the farmers what to do, ie Tyson with chickens and Smithfield with pork. How much further in the future will the corporations control american agriculture. I think in 50-75 years, agriculture will be completely different than now.

Too many billion dollar companies have the capital to make the changes happen.

12/22/2019 8:58:53 AM

Iowegian

Anamosa, IA BPIowegian@aol.com

The thing about corporations is that they are artificial entities. We don't have to allow them and we can limit them, They exist only because states grant charters allowing them.

Our Supreme Court really screwed up when they gave corporations the same rights as people when it comes to giving money to political super pacs. The just let them have the power to buy elections. Then the Trump tax breaks gave them more money with which to buy elections. We need to get a whole lot smarter about corporations.

I can see the advantage of limiting their taxes. Their profits are supposed to go to stockholders and then they get taxed. Lower corporate taxes keeps jobs in this country, instead of going to other countries. But if they demand the same rights as people, they should pay the exact same tax rates as people. If they want those tax breaks, tell them that they have to give up the right to get into politics. It is stupid to use the tax code to subsidize their political activities.

It is not just corporations trying to control agriculture. Just look at the peoples republic of California. They want to be able to tell farmers in other states how they can grow crops, what kinds of facilities they can keep livestock in, and so on. And they want to label EVERYTHING in the country as carcinogenic.

12/22/2019 12:09:56 PM

bnot

Oak Grove, Mn

Corporations, not only have the ability to affect political policies, they also can afford the legal staff to challenge state statues. I think that the commerce clause of the constitution is the favored method of challenging. Corporations are powerful. When the country was many small farms and labor intensive, it would have been difficult for the corporations to gets their hands directly in the dirt so to speak.

Consolidation, makes it easier. Right now, the sweet spot for farm size is above 1000 acres. Those that are on the same amount of land as their father, their grandfather, their great grandfather are going to struggle to keep going today. The family farm of old that has not grown with the times...won't keep going.

I really think, that the sweet spot is going to get larger. What happens when google or tesla pairs up with John Deere. Planting time...program the tractor, and it runs continuous until the job is done.

Individual farms were not profitable for corporations because of the labor intensity. With automation, bigger becomes attractive. The farms of 1000 acres right now...I think will continue to grow with a certain amount of attrition. When farms of 10,000 acres become available...i think that the corporations will step in further.
I am not saying this is going to happen next year. But farmers have to think more than just year by year.

12/22/2019 1:06:55 PM

bnot

Oak Grove, Mn

I am uncommitted about the corporations. I have a certain amount of loyalty to the family farm, but wonder, would a corporation of 30 individual specialist be better operators than 30 jack of all trades operators. I won't have to worry too much about it, i will be gone. It is my daughter and her kids that will see it.

Earlier, there was a discussion of farm debt. When land prices were increasing quickly, I was reading federal reserve reports on debt to asset ratios of this regions farmers. It was actually quite low. I think the farmers learned some hard lessons a few decades ago. Those that are still in farming now...I think are some pretty intelligent individuals.

Todays survivers of agriculture, will have to keep making the right decisions to deal with future changes. I do not have contempt...I have respect, just not sympathy.

12/22/2019 1:14:46 PM

Iowegian

Anamosa, IA BPIowegian@aol.com

The ones who learned the hard lessens a few decades ago that didn't go broke are most likely retired or dead.

What happened was that farm prices were good, land prices went high. Farmers were encouraged to borrow against that invisible money in their land value. In my area, many farmers bought new big equipment, built a new house beside the old one and then tore the old one down. They got rid of livestock; too much work and government checks for grain were easy. Then the prices went down, land value dropped, the banks wanted their money back but it was gone. Banks were as much to blame as anyone for the farm crisis of the 70's. Farmers were quick to bad mouth factory workers making good money, even though they paid the taxes that gave them the government welfare. If a factory went on strike, farmers lined up to scab in and break the union. I could not understand why the unions and workers didn't turn against the farmers.

Too much of what happens to farmers is beyond their control. Weather, insects and disease can be bad, but there is crop insurance. What can really mess them up is politics. And if the politicians screw things up, it takes politicians to fix it. So at least for the political problems, I can have sympathy for them.

12/22/2019 2:20:30 PM

bnot

Oak Grove, Mn

You have made me think of what if's Iowegian. If my father had not tried to save time and unjam the combine while it was running, how would have my family survived the farm crisis. My mother was a city girl...chance at a new house, she would have been pressuring my dad big time for it. My first years were in a small trailer parked next to the 1910's house. My grandfather was very thrifty. my Dad would be stuck between his wife and his father. I would have been in my 20's not yet making full decisions...Honestly, my grandfather would have been right. So many variables on the family farm. I have wished I had a chance to return to my beginning for many decades...it will never happen. Those that are current farmers...keep it all together.

12/22/2019 3:32:45 PM

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