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Senior Contributor

Megafarms Coming

Did you see this Successful Farming article taken from some researchers speech at a recent farm conference?

 

It's worth a read.

 

https://www.agriculture.com/news/crops/in-a-generation-mega-farms-will-dominate-production-ag-analys...

 

It says there will be 100,000 big farmers and a bunch of smaller, niche farmers.  The middle tier will wither away.  

 

We see this to some extent now because where are the kids?  Not staying on the farm, are they?  Off to the big city.

 

This will mean that the fly-over country will be even smaller in relative population.  It will be more urban where it does retain population.

 

The urbanites will be happy to legislate how big-ag operates.  It will be all factory farms to them.  The little, niche farmer will be like a pygmy in an elephant stampede, trying to avoid being bought-out or out-marketed by the monsters and trying to be slip between the bureaucratic fingers of the new level of non-farm government agencies sure to spring up.

 

I think the golden age of farming will be the 50's and 60's.  Farmers, like cowboys, will be simply a myth.

 

So - get big, get unique or get out.

Prepare to be overwhelmed by "townies" who ignore you, or hate you and don't trust you

You are the last of a dying breed.

 

19 Replies
Senior Contributor

Re: Megafarms Coming

Having lived through the 50ies and 60ies in this area only the early 50ies could be considered a golden age.

Later 50ies pressure began and 60ies saw a big shift from small farms to larger units and many quitting the industry 

 

Those of us who started in those times and were positioned into the 70ies saw a golden time until the interest rates of the 80ies.

 

Always changing economics, sometimes from natural market pressure and other times from misguided government policies.

Honored Advisor

Re: Megafarms Coming

Where are all those kids going to live?  Yeah that's right, in the suburbs.  Where are the suburbs? Yeah that's right, on the edge of the city, gobbling up farmland at a rate of 3 acres per minute.   

Senior Contributor

Re: Megafarms Coming

NO problem, as long as there is a Wallmart, recreation center and a hospital 12 minutes away!

 

SARCASM button

Senior Contributor

Re: Megafarms Coming

I have postulated that the future would remove the general population from rural areas.

It makes perfect economic sense in a multitude of ways.  Get rid of all the county maintenance of roads, get rid of the the health risks to anybody living surrounded by crops sprayed with pesticides.  When machines and robots become gigantic they can be used to farm thousands of acres in a very short time.  You will eventually see a form of teraforming that consolidates all these small parcels of land into one huge farm.  Much more efficient.

 

On the political side it's the same as dealing with any large corporation, one company you can force to do what you want by using regulations and laws without the government owning the company. 

 

Lastly the consolidation of food companies.  They can force the pricing so low that individuals can't compete.  Those same companies can either own the farms or better they can contract with the farms which means that those farms will follow all the rules the food processors make and at the same time make it impossible for an individual to continue.

 

It's the same scenario as other large companies, large companies can pass on costs to consumers and can adjust to bizarre government edicts.  Indeed they are proponents of rules and regulations that ensure no small startup company will ever exist.

 

 

Senior Contributor

Re: Megafarms Coming

if you take 80 million corn acres, and 80 million soybean acres and divide by 100,000, you get 1600 acres per farm. Granted, there is wheat production, rice, etc, but the 100,000 farmers looks a decimal place too large...they didn't say 10,000 farms, and 16,000 acres per farm, did they? Decades ago, I read that the think tanks were projecting 20,000 commercial farms running most of the production, and that was before the latest rounds of huge planters, high speeds, etc.

 

Honestly, 1600 acres per farm unit is not the end of rural America....it probably isn't too far off from reality. It still is not large enough to afford new machinery without something else subsidizing the cash flow, and some units need to exist to create a market place for the used equipment from the actual megafarms.

 

Those under that size probably need to form operating units with neighbors to get there quickly, and capture economies of scale, purchase discounts etc. Life will go on.

 

Senior Contributor

Re: Megafarms Coming

Have a friend that farms or did farm 14,000 acres in Iowa.  I'm not sure how many acres he farms now.  I don't keep up on that stuff.  I also have a neighbor that farms 3,000 acres and it's a family farm.

Veteran Advisor

Re: Megafarms Coming

Where  does  Stamp  Farms   and  Michigan ,  fit  into  this  conversation  - ? 

 

There is  a  13,000  acre  outfit  for  sale  in  Scottsbluff  County  Nebraska,  which  leads  to  the  question  of  extra  large  =  efficiency  ,  why  is  this  gem  for  sale  with  the ,   peloton  real  estate   company  - ? 

 

Big  -  Mega   spray  rigs  were  already  in  use  in,   South  East  Asia  in  the  1960's  ,   weren't  they  - ?      

Senior Contributor

Re: Megafarms Coming

Nice try 289, but first, check thread

 

"What a real state of emergency looks like "

Veteran Advisor

Re: Megafarms Coming

bas  -  sorry  about  bringing  up  the  michigan  mega  farmer ,  you  seemed  worried   about   -  while  the  back  hoes  clean  the  corn  stalk  piles  from  the  over  flowed,  washed  out  culverts  and  weighed  down  fence  lines  -   -   -

 

I   haven't   seen  those  absent  owners  come  by  in  their  $65,000  Denali  rigs , with  their  5  buckles  on,   to  help  clear  the  way - ?