There has been a frenzied race to buy up farmland, not only by the Chinese, but also by Zuckerberg. They seem to have a simple business plan:
- Buy American farmland (at sky-high prices)
- Secure enough land to ‘control the market’
- Collect BILLIONS!
Yeah, from what I know about farming (some of my family were farmers, and I’ve lived in and around semi-rural communities for years), that ain’t gonna work.
In the first place, they’re paying too much for the properties. The real estate market in the Midwest is not as heated as that of the coasts.
In the second place, they have NO experience with agriculture, and the extent to which the agribusinesses control the money – loans, contracts locking in a substantial part of the year’s crops, and the disheartening effect of weather on crop outcomes.
The sheer KNOWLEDGE that the average farmer has would astound many.
I remember some Leftist sneering at the idea that having Internet access on a tractor would be a useful thing.
Farmers use it for programming of the timing of watering, to keep an eye on the local weather, checking the farm reports and daily price shifts, and getting notices of deliveries of seed, supplies, and other interactions with associated merchants. That’s just a small part of their tech use. Some also monitor the pH, plant and animal health, and make appointments online with vets and repairmen.
In the third place, the would-be moguls have no idea just how little of the nation’s arable land is used. They can TRY to buy up and monopolize land, but they really can’t. We have some of the most diverse climate of any country – we can grow grain, raise both milk and feed cows, chickens, and hogs. The cattle of the West graze on marginal land – but, it’s good enough for vegetation to be turned into high quality protein.
We have fruit and vegetable farms. We have organic farms, and some of them are among the most productive and profitable around. We have mini-farms, with the owners farming in between their other paid work. We have acreage in our rural and suburban properties that is underused, and, in a pinch (like the increasing prices at the supermarket), can produce an abundance of food. And we have a culture that tells Americans that it’s not a shame to work with your hands in the dirt.
We have 1/5 of the WORLD’S fresh water, just in the Great Lakes. The farmland along that shoreline is some of the best in the world.
Frankly, both Zuckerberg and the Chinese are gonna lose their shirts. Couldn’t happen to guys more deserving.