Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A truth about modern farming

I came up among farmers.

Right up till the '60's a hundred acre farm in these parts would provide a living for a farm family.

No more.

Now most of the farms are owned by city folks like me, who lease out the land to real farmers at rates that in no way reflect the actual cost of capital etc.

In other words, middle-class pretenders to the land are subsidizing the real farmers in this neck of the woods.

Which is not to suggest for a moment that these farm folks trying to make a go of it aren't working their asses off. The farmers I know, like the Lundy's who rent my land, eat, sleep, and work 90 hours a week for their farming operation.

They consider it a good year if they make enough to do it again next year.

That's a good news bad news story.

Across the American mid-west and into some of the Canadian provinces you've got hedge funds buying up hundreds of thousands of acres and leasing them back to real farmers.

That's what I do, but the difference is that I know the farmer who leases my land, I know what a stillborn calf or a coyote kill does to his bottom line, and we negotiate our annual deal accordingly.

I don't mind sitting in the back pasture with a rifle for an afternoon to help out with the coyote problem.

Once a New York hedge fund has your land, that ain't gonna happen.

1 comment:

  1. Great column!! There IS an option to a future where hedge funds own everything, including our souls. Please support small and mid-sized farm families by becoming an associate member of the National Farmers Unions: www.nfu.ca/