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Senior Contributor

Decline of farmers

I was just wondering what the number of farmers will be in the next 10 to 15 years. The BTO's in my area are getting bigger and bigger every year, and witht he prices the last few years have tons of cash and therefore staying power. I would bet that in 15 years we lose another 10 to 15 % of farms. I have a plan in place that is getting a young guy started, but I wonder if I am doing him a favor. I should probably tell the kid to move so he doesnt have to go through the heartbreak of getting ate up, by one of these boys.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Decline of farmers

If it is what he loves to do don't discourage him.  The future picture always changes.  

Even if your vision is right--- there will be a place for him in production ag. -----Even though the picture is not what we expect.--For him it may be new and exciting.  And he may take his ag future in a direction you haven't thought of.  

 

 

 

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Honored Advisor

Re: Decline of farmers

Also I think you may be right-----------technology is favoring bigger growth.  But that just means fewer enterprises doing more, not necessarily fewer people.

The net effect of that may be better work, less pressure, more effeciency, better income, etc.

 

I saw two neighbors a few years ago(both good friends with mid size operations) merge operations.  I could not believe the difference it made.

 

The old saying--- there is always another way to skin a cat, (and a new guy thinking of a new way).  If your young guy has a little vision he will be right in there doin' some skinnin'.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Decline of farmers

Depending on where you are, there may be niche opportunities available.  For example, I plant for a guy, who may let me rent the place when he retires, simply because the BTOs don't really want to mess with it.  I planted 127 acres, which were spread out over 6 or 7 different fields, and it takes me 3 days to do it, and I doubt that with any sized machinery, it could be done in less than 2 days, due to the logistics of moving around, and dealing with small, irregular fields.  The BTOs could plant 3-4 pivot circles, in the time it takes to plant those 127 dryland acres, plus, there are places you just can't get, with a combine head wider than 6 rows.

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Veteran Contributor

Re: Decline of farmers

It doesn't matter how much you farm if your making a profit.  As long as you don't have to have the latest technology and can keep your machinery running yourself for the most part, as apposed to paying shop fees, you should be able to make the same ROI as anyone else farming.  If the kid can make a go of it and does it because he wants to be there then don't discourage him.  The BTOs only get bigger because people are selling to them, if more retirees would make a private sale through an agreement to a young guy it would be a lot eaiser for us to get our start.  I've spent 10 years since high school not farming but wishing I could because I couldn't find land to farm, if the kid doesn't farm he'll probably be as unhappy at other jobs as I've been.

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Senior Advisor

Re: Decline of farmers

If it takes you 3 days to plant 127 acres, you don't put in long enough days. I get it, you are working by the hour. Ha!

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Senior Contributor

Re: Decline of farmers toughguy

Great post, hope you can get a start somehow. I think we all need to remember that things have cycles. I feel bad for the young guys because the baby boomers which I am one of them are so **bleep** selfish.

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Veteran Contributor

Re: Decline of farmers toughguy

I am joining dad on 500 acres this spring, sold my first 1,000 bushels of corn wednesday before the report (He's spotting my bushels to get my start.  Hopefully I can find some acres to rent on my own for 2013 once I'm back at the farm and get my name out there as a young guy looking to come in.  

 

I heard one of the BTOs in my county just bought 600 acres at 12,000 cash, and there are a few more auctions here in the next month that will probably go the same way.  While I know its good for you boomers' retirements to get out this way now,its making it **bleep** near impossible for us young guys unless we have someone who will take the chance on us and help us get into farming.  We need more farmers not less, we already have to many idiots who don't know how to grow food.

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Senior Advisor

Re: Decline of farmers toughguy

Hi toughguy,  I don't think the poor me attitude is good for anybody. Some folks might think that the haves owe you something to assist you getting started. Most of the haves were facing the same challemge as you are getting started. Land may have be $500 per acre back then and $50 per acre rent but those dollars were just as difficult as modern circumstances for you.

 

Don't expect charity but expect to compete. You do that by being efficient and frugal. And you must sell yourself to persuade potential landlords. That means being a good person and a good citizen member of the community.

Be advised that landlords have their favorite charities that often include children and grand children Perhaps with higher rents they can support those charities as they wish.

 

Don't assume that landlords are greedy bastards. They may simply be fellows that want market value for what the sell. You won'r sell your corn for $5 if others are selling their corn for $5.50 or $6. Greed has nothing to do with it. It comes from a life time of being frugal and smart.. Besides if you have that attitude the potential landlords will sense that and they may not like that.

 

Landlords like tenants that are considerate of the owners interests. Save them money when you can even if it doesn't benefit you That indicates that you are a team player and consider it a partnership instead of someone that wants to profit at his expense.

 

I'm not trying to change anything other than your attitude as you move forward in your carreer. Trying to tell you what works well for your future financial health You are not competing with your landlord for profits. Don't make him an adversary. Make him a partner with common interests of prosperity for both of you.

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Veteran Contributor

Re: Decline of farmers toughguy

Kraft-t,

I don't think that anyone owes me anything, just statiing how I see things.  When the boomers were starting to farm in my area they payed $1000/acre or less, you could borrow that amount.  Today land is going for 12000 and farm credit will only loan out 3500/acre, so unless a young guy fell onto a pile of money, we aren't gonna get started that way. 

 

I agree with what you said about competing being efficient and frugal.  Thats the only way to work in my opinion. I don't expect to rake in a lot of money and go buy myself a new 2013 Chevy pickup at the end of the year, I'll make do with what I have and save for future land purchases.

 

 

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