Was the ground right next to his? I guess thats fine, that he bought the farm, I dont' really care, But farming is still a business and evidently they are going to have debt to service. Which means you have to have the income to do it. I hope it works out for them,
Just had a chat with the wife of the fellow who bought this ground (even though their names are out in some media outlets, I said I'd respect her request to keep their names out of our discussion). And remember, this is just one side of the story.
She said this was the one piece of ground her husband had been wanting for years. The other bidder was another local farmer, from the sound of it, more of a BTO than her husband (who's a dairy farmer). She said the other fellow had told her husband a couple of years ago (when they were friends) that he would do whatever he needed to in order to get that piece of land. Said her husband, from that point on, basically lost a friend. So, then it come up on for sale and it was just the 2 of them bidding. She said the bidding lasted about 10 minutes. Said the town, including their bankers, was behind them in getting the land and said they were excited when they did.
Funny part of it: She said she was actually at the dentist getting a tooth filled while the auction was going on, and her husband came in to get the checkbook from her. Said that was when she knew something had happened!
She said they're worried about the public view of them being negative simply because of the dollar amount they paid. But, she wanted to assure me that they've worked for every nickel they've made, and they're going to continue to do it. Said the best part of the process was having the support of their community all along.
I'm trying to hunt down some more information on this -- hope to have some more information up ont he site in the next day or so.
Sounds like someone is overpaid or stupid if they earned every penny. Sorry just saying. The public perception is going to be they are over paid this is going to have it's windfall.
Not that anyone should have to justify or apologize for a decision as to how they spend their own money, but this one sends a message that is very counterproductive to ag interests, if you think about how the average person might perceive it. People don't see the fifty years you worked for the money, they see that you dropped it on a relatively small parcel of land, in ten minutes or less.
Ag had the public's sympathy after the debacle of the eighties... I think the public perception of farmers right now is more along the lines of a privileged class, in the minds of most who don't know what it takes to do what we do. Folks already see that farmers work seasonally, have time to hunt (or in Kraft=t's case, go on cruises) and have their land to use as their playground every day.
Mike and I have often said that we've lived in places and in ways that many people will take their few days of vacation every year, and travel great distances, just to mimic the experience. There are those who resent our way of life, without having a clue as to how we earned - and continue to earn - it.
I had a fellow educator once tell a professor who was teaching us an in-service math class, that my father was "one of the biggest farmers in the county." It was said in the context and manner of making me appear to be privileged. I had been an unpaid farmhand since the age of six, so hardly had it easy.
My respone was to say, "You're right...everyone in our family has always worked five to nine to build that farm." The professor looked at me, and said, "Well, four hours a day isn't all that bad.:
Of course, I had to follow up with the explanation, "No, I meant five A.M. to nine P.M."
I am happy for this family that they got what they wanted. I hope that it doesn't turn into a case of "be careful what you wish for..." Buyer's remorse is a B.
I do not think you guys even have a clue about that area of Iowa. It is very unique and this land will prolly never come up for sale again in 100 years. So the best time to buy the farm is when it is for sale. I'll bet the folks already had everything else paid for so it isn't any big deal for them.
In that area no one thinks the farmers are poor.
I am happy for them, that they could buy the farm after wanting it for some time. The only problem is, it is now going to be in every trade magazine, internet farm / land site, and in the news media now. Hope they prepared to have there name all over the farming community. I have heard way to many times from people who don't farm is that we are a privileged group, and that our land is partially paid for by their tax dollars through farm subsidies. I get sick of hearing that and even though they could buy this chunk of ground the non-farming community looks at it as a rich farmer that gets some of my tax money to go buy more stuff. Emotions in business decisions sometimes is not a very sound practice.
I probably understand it far better than you think. My homeplace is in a mineral deposit where $2 million per acre is a fairly routine "yield"...and surveys are consequently made to the inch.
Even before the discovery of the deposit, there was deeply-held lust for land, both owned and rented. Land only changed hands generationally in families. So, I "get" it.
Ever see a family member challenge a will for a man who had been dead for over 40 years? That's what my uncle did, over the home farm my grandfather left my father...so he could get into the royalty action. I could tell you tales that would curl your hair, and turn it white.
As I said above, I feel that it is a free country, and if this was their money, or money they can re-pay, then good for them. I think they may live to regret it, but that is their consequence, if so.
I also hope their community remains so supportive. In my experience, people who think you have got that much start to feel you should have shared more of it with them, somehow.
In real estate, the #1 rule is "Never fall in love with a house." I have a feeling, from Jeff's description, that more than a little emotion was involved in this decision. I hope this couple had a clear agreement that they could afford to go the limit, and then set the limit as 'sky". I cannot think of any crop but reefer that would cashflow that sort of purchase price....