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Honored Advisor

Those times when the obvious hits you in the head....

On a sunday morning when I decide to leave God and the terminally Ill crops for a few minutes.... (God may need a break from Crop related "prayers")  so I give God early sunday morning off.  Is that humanistic enough to annoy..............?

Well lets not mention "Him" "or Her" more than 3 times in two lines.... even the Forum wretches over that.

I look at the web site that lists High School Football scores .  At which time I am totally unprepared for the negativity I observe......

This website lists all High Schools playing football by size classification.  Some unification came about in the 1960's when a lot of schools got some physical "plant" improvements.  In Football, size matters.   very small schools play with only 8 men or these days "uniform wearers".     

I was just minding my own business and the effects of time fell on me......... In Ks the largest number of schools has always fallen in the 1A-2A-3A classes of schools.  Was approaching 60% of the schools back in the consolidation days.  The few towns who fought their way out of consolidation or just didn't fit the model, were smaller and played 8 man ball.  The biggest schools in the state(top 10-20%) are 6A-5A-4A, primarily larger towns 1/3 of which were in the three major metros of Wichita, KC west, Topeka area maybe 10% of ks schools.

Today in a state largely agricultural there are 340 schools ............ of those  35% play 8 or 6 man football   121 schools in the state.  A large number of those 8> man schools are former 12 man schools...

Listed in historic state champions are 25 schools too small to field a team today..... victoms of new consolidations or just time and out of those 25, there are 10 who hold state football championships in 12 man classifications.   ------- adding to that picture.....Kansas did not played for a championship until 1969 (meaning since 1969 demographics in rural kansas have accelorated dramatically.

In class 1A    there are 31 schools holding on to a 12 man team at the bottom of the size scale.... with 121 below them in 8 man.   Of the 31 small 12 man schools ( 1A the smallest group of schools state wide) there are 13 county seats representing the only school in those counties.    In the 121 schools that are small enough to only play 8 man football there are another 22 county seat high schools representing a whole county of population.   TWENTY TWO........

The plight of rural kansas without agriculture......... usda doesn't reflect this data in their numbers.

 

 

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I was not looking for a reminder of what is happening to agriculture.......... just a couple of football scores.

12 Replies
Veteran Advisor

Re: Those times when the obvious hits you in the head....

Con-solidation   has  a   consequence  of   very  limited  exposure  of  resentment,  &  conscious  -  -  -

Grappling  with  the  Exodus,  the  wave  of  nursing  home  closures ,  leaves  local,  aged  populations , with  an absence  of  relatives ,    short  falls  the  experts  fail  to  address,   on  just  one  of  it's  shortsightedness   -   -   - 

Buffalo  Commons,  gave  me  an  eerie  feeling ,  although  now ,  we  are  witness  to  the  fact  of  Rural  Volunteer  Fire  Departments,  unfilled  vacancies ,  much  less a  gaze of  empty  pews  on  the  Sabbath  -  -  - 

US  Highway 81  - 281  seems  to  have  the  distinction  of  the   making  of  an  East  boundary,  Denver  & Albuquerque  being  the  exception ,  then  I - 15   having  a  couple  of  map  dots    -  -  -

Least  cost  producer  vs.  No  Producers  -  which  shall  it  be  -  ?           

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Honored Advisor

Re: Those times when the obvious hits you in the head....

Yesterday I got a call from a landowner I manage some property for and he asked me If I knew this guy.  Stephan Soloviev

I found the source of his curiosity in the article I will link to below.

https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2019-largest-landowners-in-us/

 

"The guy lives out in your area.  Know him?   Is he a little crazy?  Hard to miss a guy thats spending that much!"

I found the article interesting also..... If your into the punishment of envy, the eccentric of my unknown neighbor from Manhattan (NY), or just amazed by beauty and human ambition displayed in history.  This article is a nice read.

Tomorrow Me and some friends (including some grandsons) are headed to high country to fish.  We are going to start early in the morning, drop south into the breach, turn west, and head straight west down the gunbarrel of the Oklahoma Panhandle.(which by the way was open range and ( indian) territory until well into the 1900's)  We will be able to gaze south into the famous XIT Ranch of the 1800's which occupied much of the Texas Panhandle.  When the homesteaders play out near the muzzle begins what was , in the 1800's, the largest cattle ranch in the now USA.  I am going to mozzey across the ranch for 70 miles and catch civilization somewhere near Raton, NM.  The Financing families from the British Isles who financed the Land grant Ranch originally, eventually divided its assets and Mr. Malone has a large portion of it and leads the landowners list in the article.  (At Folsom, NM there is a museum that can set you straight on every messed up thing I have written.  Every spring they have a tour that leaves Folsom and heads back east on my route giving historical data and archeological information.  The trip includes indian paintings at Black Mesa and lots of other stuff on the way out to the Wedding Cake ranch and on to Kenton, Okla sitting in the muzzle.)--the tour is full every year

When I get to Folsom NM. (which sits in the original ranch). I am going to take blacktop 72 west.  It takes you up on top of one of the mesa's where beautiful grass and views seem like another world.... cattle for miles with deer, elk, and antelope.... even a bear occasionally. 15-18 miles of high country drive then off the other side back down into the mountains that are there waiting for us.  

We are at the end of the grandeur of the 1800's as Modern society awaits us.  You'll need gas and a soda and every minimart will give you glowing reminders of the drug issues of modern society.  North into Trinidad, Colorado you will soon know that coal country to the west is not there to employ and the new "weed" harvest is all that keeps Trinidad economically viable....... selling to those kids down in NM stealing grandma's social security.   So you can head west into the Peaks of the Trinchera ranch for a little fishing or relaxing or head on west across the high desert to Wolf Creek where there are miles and miles of high country to get away from modern society.  

Wow ...... if I had an inheritance of a billion or two.  I don't think eastern Colorado is where I would invest it.  But win or loose he won't face much criticism there.  And in fact, I am glad some of these folks that have some wealth are willing to take on and protect some of these massive investments of our past.  In some of these areas there needs to be a retirement plan that isn't taxpayer funded.  In context, large land ownership is not a bad thing....... There are places that don't work well in small lots.

We had an up day ....... lets think about cutting costs for a day or two instead of squeeling like a pig at the guy that has congress wishing it knew how to use social media.   suck it up ...... laugh a little.

 

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Those times when the obvious hits you in the head....

Good luck fishing and thanks for the tip on another beautiful sounding road trip.

 

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Those times when the obvious hits you in the head....

So is Soloviev and people like him the future/salvation of agriculture?  I ask myself what is he doing differently than I for him to be so profitable?  Or will he just farm till the billions are gone?  He can bypass the middle man regarding inputs and marketing but i doubt he operates much more efficiently?  You all are welcome to straighten me out on my thinking 

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Those times when the obvious hits you in the head....

I wonder what his estate plan is?  How long will the "empire" last?

Will his corporation or descendants build and/or maintain it.

Or does that which never goes away (land) come back on the market in 10, 20 or 30 years.

Or does it go into some government set-aside program or wildlife preserve or hunting sanctuary.

 

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Honored Advisor

Re: Those times when the obvious hits you in the head....

Well, the really Bigshots do buy inputs half of what us peons do.  I received a Becks catalog about if you buy enough you "earn" a semi tractor, a trip to the Caribbean ..all kinds of neat stuff.  But a Bigshot is going to laugh at it because he buys seed so cheap that that Becks premium is a drop in the bucket, the little guy with a faithful 20 bag order every year is the one getting screwed.   I would`ve tried Becks before I looked at the catalog, but I`ll be damned if my 20 bag order is going to subsidize a naive Bigshot`s trip to Acapulco. 

But these Bigshots farming 10`s of thousands of acres on the way to 100`s of thousands of acres have a long term goal of one day being a "price setter" and not a "price taker" as a 20 bag Becks customer currently is.    I mean drive 5 miles down the road and take what the elevator is offering isn`t long term sustainable.  The day will come when your market might be 200 miles away and you need to have the volume and figure a way to get it there.  

These coops with 50 sites, selling and applicating inputs at un competitive prices will eventually die on the vine with the Bigshot picking them up pennies on the dollar for his own operation.   So, one day it`ll come down to a corporate board meeting one day being "corn is $4 and we should have $7, so I propose we lay Minnesota fallow next year". 

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Honored Advisor

Re: Those times when the obvious hits you in the head....

Clayton,   all good questions I share,  

Future salvation of Ag?  No IMO  no.. Closer to the extreme version of "green acres".  The articles he is quoted in say he is going to bring the newest & Best of methods and technology to the table.....the things that poor farmers can't afford(not a quote).  Yet the things he names have been in practice for 30 years.   Somewhere it the middle of reading it I here oliver standing on the roof making a phone call.

Profitability?    Unfortunately  I would say yes he can and will be profitable.  The taxes i and my cpa see would be prifitable almost every year if they had no cost of land, limited taxation, and no pressure to market.  Wouldn't it be nice if the crop you raised in 2015 was just an asset setting in your portfolio. Carrying the cost of government is not a large burdon on historic accumulated wealth, and this fellow just traded a pile of assets in New York for a pile of assets in Colorado.  He has no startup costs.  ----- I admire the folks who make a good living in the Tribune/Cheyenne Wells area.  They are a special breed.  It is not the old fashioned way but yes he can be profitable if he melds together his world and theirs.

It may not last long but I know a lot of suitcase farmers of old that did well in Eastern Colorado..   I think it is just an investment of "preservation of wealth".  Very much so the vision of "Oliver and Lisa" and their view of Agriculture.

There are some sizeable Tax advantages for many of the large ranch owners wrapped around environmental common sense.  And time has treated land ownership well when seen in long term human development.  Involved in that is open passage for the public through cattle gates and miles that used to be unaccessible.  Also there is some good reads on the history of some of these,,,, like the Maxwell Land Grant that I like to drive through....It was preserved from Mexican independence, Texas ownership, US transfer, and statehood...all in about 75 years.      the story of those who had that 2 million acre "cat by the tail" is very interesting.

isc76cat,   No question it will go through many changes.... I think about all the irrigation ditches up and down the Arkansas River south of that region...... the historic activity that has used those ditches has been similar ..... It take large investment and big visions and I can remember when great sugar companies were going from Lamar to Garden City.  With Beets were raised when the water was new.

Obviously agriculture is in transition........ as it always has been, and the vision that drives it now will also change to a new vision.  Easier to see it out where the risk takers go.

BA...... your right we are in the midst of change.... and the examples you give are not going to stay the same.  Marketing...... has to regain the middle ground..... when elevator prices are $3 and port prices are $5, and Japan is paying $8......the middle ground is where profits are attainable.

Just an off the cuff thought but if this guy can build a destination market for wheat in eastern Colorado he is just down the tracks from one of the fastest growing population centers in the US.... the eastern slope.  And just a couple of hours from one of the worlds best air traffic centers.  I am sitting just over the hump west of there this morning.   The Rockies are no longer a dangerous difficult obstacle..... more like a human play ground.  I have heard 4 different languages, other than spanish and this horrid american english, just in one day.

Who knows what he can do ........ or if it will be a relic on the prairie.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Those times when the obvious hits you in the head....

The  add  say-ed       '''  see  your  future  clearly  '''   in  San Antonio  20   something    -   ?   

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Senior Contributor

Re: Those times when the obvious hits you in the head....

Organized football seems to be going the way of American high school and college boxing programs from the 1930s through the late 1950s. That is, I expect to see less and less of any non-money making football programs in the coming years as parents & potential players begin to vote with their feet. The exodus has already started in both Div I College and the NFL.

For example, look closely at the starting football line-ups for both Iowa State University and the University of Iowa teams that played in Ames this past weekend. Now look at any random photo shot taken of the multitudes of Cyclone/Hawkeye fans in the stadium. Notice any differences between the players and the fans?

Like a parent's personal choice for the schools their own kids will attend, their ability to  avoid AA doctors, AA lawyers, and AA financial advisors, or their individual choice of a neighborhood to live in; football has become a sport best left to all those who do not know any better, but still love the adulation of the crowds. It has become a dangerous sport meant for other parent's kids, but certainly not their own.

In the not too distant future, everyone not electing to fight in this new gladiator arena will be happily found cheering from the bleachers. At least, that is how it seems to me.

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