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Honored Advisor

Re: Rural Kansas Dying

ElCheapo, the problem is that in farming if you`re "one of the herd" that raises 200,000 bushel of wheat and market it at the elevator 10 miles down the road with everybody else you`re going to lose money most of the time.   With the exceptions of "somebody else has a drought", you have a marketing scheme or you own all your land & no debt and willing to donate that advantage to the cause.  

 

 

Outside of that you have to have a niche and sell Turkey Red organic wheat on contract to some processor for $30/bushel or whatever.  Or raise millions of bushels of wheat and be satisfied with a penny a bushel profit.  The organic guy is special and not a easy group to be in.  The big big big guy probably had to have chosen to be born in rich family and wasn`t afraid to take a lot of chances to get big big big, so that operator is in rarified air. 

 

If you`re in the middle, selling undistinguishable wheat at 200,000 bushel annually, unless you get your enjoyment from things other than making money, you`ll be unsatisfied most of the time...hence the writing of posts titled "Are the boys in Chicago watching???"   "Is Washington listening????"   "What`s Trump doing to us now????" and that sort of thing.   I know, though I don`t raise wheat and do support the president and his policies, I`m also in that same economic pickle.  

 

The thing is, in a wheat wheat wheat monoculture and everyone gets big big big to make it and that`s what sounds like has went on in Kansas.  The middleman is cut out, while that sounds good on paper, it`s the "middlemen" the hardware store owner, small grocer, welding shop, little feed store is what populated the small towns that we are only now waking up to have disappeared. 

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Honored Advisor

Re: Rural Kansas Dying

Clayton is hitting it pretty well BA.

 

Off subject

If you need to label kansas.  I think it is more libertarian than conservative.  More religious than political.  And more Accountant than traditional coffee can savers.  They know that "popular trends", legislation, and technology are the primary drivers of the need to increase size of production in order to cover the escalating costs of inputs, labor, and equipment.

 

They know that those who promote smaller farms and higher income for farm labor, are not dealing with an economic reality.  They know the costs of "retooling" and reinvesting to change to organic or totally different income sources have to be justified in real income potential for millions of acres, with a profit for the producer (farm labor).

 

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BA I disagree on the 20 something point........ I think a 20 something with a plan that shows profit, follows the plan and has payback ability doesn't need a "dad" to carry him or her at the bank.

 

The california paragraph.          One of the points that gets ignored by "Iowaoneans" is history ............ Well let me say most of Kansas is 50-60 years younger than most of the corn belt.  We were still homesteading when the industrial revolution faded into WW!........ we got 15 years to buy something and build a grain bin,(then an outhouse), before the depression hit and only a few years ago did we regain our peak populations of the 1920's in western ks.  The 1950's -60's we our best years for developing economy.

We never industrialized to the level of the older states...  So when the kids left the farm, they left the area.  They fly home occasionally.   

Iowa has depopulated the farm also.  But those folks got to stay home and work in strongly developed industries.

I would tend to say all of farming has been going through the same growth and downsizing pressures..........some of us can hide it better than others.

Things that pay for state budgets like property taxes have been helped by diversification and population.  Houses still pay better property taxes than corn fields... Iowa's tax base may have expanded while its actual crop producers have gone down in number.   

Kansas has not had that luxury.  Its industry was more gas and oil based ...............also a depopulating industry.

 

They will love california if they live in the 85% by area that is as conservative as kansas.  If they gat a job that will not pay the high price of living they may struggle...  Still one of the most beautiful and diverse states of us all........ great agriculture community.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Rural Kansas Dying

BA    that DAD carrying them at the bank,   I see a lot of that kind of thought, and I think that is indicative of a bubble that will eventually pop.

 

When farm land value and rents are inflated beyond what that young producer can afford......... after all, often it is the elder generation that is expecting that young  producer to finance their florida retirement with rents that force him to look for more acres because of small returns.

Finally that young 20 something is 40 something and working in town to farm his acres in shorter hours to gain a few benefits etc.

And eventually he is out bid by the other option "BTO" farmers who can also do the math.

 

Same reality but in Ks ...... few off farm jobs.  So the process has one less step.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Rural Kansas Dying

Yes SW, I haven`t been off the beaten path in Kansas, so I only know what I read.  It seems to me unless you farm by Wichita and get a off farm job at Cessna that meaningful outside income is tough to come by.   Kansas put it`s money down on wheat and cattle feeding and that`s about it...not criticizing, I`m sure it was logical in that "Everybody will always need bread and hamburgers". , little did they realize that "food security" isn`t a issue in the United States, there`s a glut of hamburgers and hamburger buns.   Meanwhile California took this long shot gamble that this "computer fad" would last and I`ll be darned, people don`t still buy I-phones, Apple watches and such.   Believe it or not we can live without a computer, but we do need hamburgers, so why don`t commodity prices better reflect that?  Smiley Happy

 

Ken Root once said "Those Kansan wheat farmers keep plugging away, their kids are home from college to help with the harvest, with that advantage nothing can stop them".   That was a good model 20 years ago, but I imagine nowadays the kids are in internships in the summers and the farms are so big many can`t help enough to make a difference. 

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Honored Advisor

Re: Rural Kansas Dying

And gas...... and oil........  which depopulated , automated, and reinvented themselves back down in the redevelopment of old fields.

 

BA   I saw a statistic yesterday that I aint got time to verify....... I trust the source and do not doubt it.

 

"after 3 trillion dollars thrown on the environmental garbage pile, fossil fuels today provide 85% of the energy needs.  The same % as they did in 1985."

 

The application of technology in that economic sector is impressive.  It takes a lot of hocus pocus to buy up land for pinwheels and mirrors.

 

I avoided "Smoke and mirrors"

Honored Advisor

Re: Rural Kansas Dying

I`m of course a ethanol fan because it`s a safe oxygenate, but (sung to the tune of the Beatles "Imagine") imagine a world without solar panels, windmills and biofuels...we`d probably be better off.  Golf courses wouldn`t have been plowed up for corn and if we never had the demand from ethanol, we`d probably not miss it.   But you play the hand you`re dealt.   And you can say the same about recycling, we all feel so good about ourselves with our blue or green containers at the end of the driveway every other Thursday full of Campells soup cans and newspapers.  But in all reality it`s a "make work" program that`s a net loss, probably better off throwing the newspapers in a brush pile (when we`re burning old car tires  Smiley Happy  ) and throw the soup cans in a load of scrap iron or dig a hole and send the metal back from wherest it came the earth.   But we`re "green" and feel good about ourselves, going broke saving the planet.

Honored Advisor

Re: Rural Kansas Dying

Give this a moment to digest.

 

It takes nearly 40% of the "record" US corn crop to provide an additive to the to the fuel we burn in the non desiel fuel we burn.

 

 

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Rural Kansas Dying

Germany is cutting way back on diesel because it's a worse pollutant.  Their love affair with diesel cars is dying.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Rural Kansas Dying

Interesting   headlines  from  Wolfsburg  -  -  -

 

Emissions  dispute  (  Expert - Administration)  leading  a  number 2  automotive  company  to  this point,  sometimes  a  negative  leads   to  a  positive  ?

 

Electric  being  the  future, has  the  country's ,  Bolivia,  Argentina, &  Chile  known  for  the  Lithium Triangle,  in  the  drivers  seat - maybe  until  hydrogen  becomes  viable  for  the  average  consumer ?           

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Rural Kansas Dying

That's a shame Jim - I loved driving this Peugeot diesel on the autobahn.

Great mileage but it did get a little squirelly taking curves over 175 kph. (second from left)

Peugeot Joe.JPG

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