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rsbs
Senior Advisor

Re: Review -- years before his time..... and it is his time

the goal of farm programs for all of my lifetime has been to reduce the number of farmers and consolidate them down to "commercial farms" of large size, so if the government wants to nationalize farms, the competing farmers will have done the hard work for them.

How else would you look at the farm policies of the last 50 years and draw a different conclusion?

I remember reading an article from a national think tank that the goal was about 25000 commercial style farms with large acreages. This was about 30 years ago. 

Face the facts....enough money has been spent on America agriculture to have purchased any style of farming that was desired, and this is where we are headed.

Reagan is put out there as some sort of saint by a lot of "conservatives" but he was the one that said we had too many farmers and maybe we needed to export farmers. Did you all forget that?

Also, for all the talk that Ronny did about balancing the budget, eliminating abortion, etc......what did the guy actually do to accomplish any of that?

One president in my lifetime that actually did something....walked the walk, and we can all witness what is going on with him right now.

dwillinois
Senior Contributor

Re: Review -- years before his time..... and it is his time

Ag class in the mid 80's told us by 2025 which seemed a lifetime away there would be on avg 4 farmers per county and you could operate your farm from a control board in the house even played us one of those films sponsored by BASF Y And Dot or whatever they were and you would have more time to ride a horse and enjoy life.

We all laughed...... a few years back the FFA alumni was asked to put in the plot no "farm" kids in the class had access to equipment so in 40yrs our farm community went from multiple ag classes filled throughout the day to zero just happened once so far but was an eye opener of how much has changed.

The early 80's about the same acreage I farm today was feeding and raising 3 families today it's just one. 

k-289
Esteemed Advisor

Re: Review -- years before his time..... and it is his time

Today's  traffic  on  the  '''' freeway ''''  moving  at  a  snail  pace ,  enroute  to  the  air  terminal  to  be  informed  of  the  delayed ,  canceled  flite ,  seems  quite  interesting  for  a  lifestyle = = =

Price-fixing  headlines  seem  to  be  a  puzzle  piece ,  that  doesn't  quite  equate  to ,  volume  =  cheaper - ?    

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sw363535
Honored Advisor

Re: Review -- years before his time..... and it is his time

Blacksand, I been a big fan of yours for a long time now.  You continue to earn more respect than I can express. 

My dad started out a filling station night man and a hired farmhand in an area he knew had some good faithful farmers.  He hit the deck eager to learn and figured out how to survive in a harsh climate.  He earned an opportunity to rent land and get started.  In his life he managed to buy 3 cheap quarters and one good one with a home on it.  Now you can say after 40 years of work he finally owned his own modest home and worked long hours for very little.   He said "I got to do the thing I dreamed of doing, and live among wonderful neighbors all my life.  What more can a poor boy want."  

So as Erik says, starting out from scratch is almost impossible.  But it is mostly perspective.  If we have lofty goals the hill can be too steep.  If we can settle for respect and a place in this world to call home, it might be achievable beyond expectation.

Blacksand some of my respect is how you remind me of my dad.... (I am 72 so the old Eisenhower and soil bank days were my first experiences).

He felt like he had been through hell growing up and "Its all uphill from here".  But the best thing he did for me was to communicate with me as an adult(even when I was 9 or ten) with an honest, "this is how it is, and this is why I am going to make this decision-- and I want you to understand it".   To such a degree that I knew his moral character very early and his struggles......his intent and steps in solving problems and meeting new folk.  I knew the songs he sang while working in the shop. ....... point is I never had to wonder anything.... and the difficulties of farming never came as a surprise to me.  He surprised me often but he prepared me for most everything and instilled the idea that every day is a gift and everything is not possible.  Mostly that making life wonderful has very little to do with wealth.  "Learn what works in your area, what your area needs and be willing to do it."----------As Erik points out

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Dwillinois said "Peak Tech".... soo true.... as I tried to say.... Peak is here.  The key to success IMO in these times, is knowing what tech we need to say no too.  As dad said, "Never consider a deal you can't say no to.  Most new ideas fail or have very short lives."

You also said "not a lot of new blood coming".   Since 2008 and before government has been doing far more than it should to keep us from having "hard times"(including doing whatever it can to trap all youth in education debt prison).......... a terrible mistake and much of the reason we have no "new blood" in farming or anything else.  "Necessity is the mother of invention" is true at a personal level also.  Hard times is not a bad thing for us.  Can you imagine growing up in poverty and discovering how much fun it is to operate a current day self propelled sprayer,,,add a little math and chemistry and wow.  That is instant respect and fun. -- My dad said in 1960(we lived in a gas and oil field). Operate and own a backhoe, it will provide you with a career and retirement.  Enjoying life is all perspective and perspective is a choice.

RSBS,  " the goal of farm programs for all of my lifetime has been to reduce the number of farmers and consolidate"

I may be a little older but I remember how much my dad liked IKE.  Ike built grain elevators and demanded surplus supply on hand at all times, storage paid by usda and our 30 mile area had 17 independently owned elevators to choose from.  Now we have 3 different conglomerates.  In the 60's we actually tried to facilitate improvements in production and education..... now the fsa office is fighting crime and you might be doing something wrong.

Farmer Reduction and consolidation is a factor of improved technology and has been since WW2.  A bigger tractor that pulls a wider implement gets more work done than the old one so we can get bigger......  usda just never cared about the issue when we wanted them to. IMO

 

k-289
Esteemed Advisor

Re: Review -- years before his time..... and it is his time

Seems  the  phrase  -  Vertical  Integration  -  has   been  left  out  of  this  conversation . 

In  the  transportation  livelihood  example  being  '''  lease  on '''  and  drive  your  own '''  company  store '''  outfit ,  being  the ''' student  loan  debt ''''  of  the  supply  chain  world ,  without  the  taxpayer  funded, Federal  Crop  Insurance =  =  =

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BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: Review -- years before his time..... and it is his time

Farm programs are the tool that enables farmers to cut their own throats, but ultimately it`s us who committed our Hari Kari.  Just a rough "history" of perpetrators along the way:  John Deere, when they came out with the 4020 in `64 farming started getting too damned fun  😀   Then in `73 they came out with the 4430 and it got even funner with those Soundguard cabs.   Then Iowa State University, in the 70`s the hillbillies around here sent their boys to ISU and they came back with all these new fangled ideas and schemes. They put up grainlegs and the old family 240 wasn`t enough "We gotta farm 1,000 acres dad and they showed me how!".  They got in over their eyeballs in debt, but in the 80`s the government wrote their debt off.  And in the 90`s, it was off to the races again.

Murphy "Family" Farms is also a culprit for starting that vertical integration hog raising crap, that showed you can be a wealthy hoghouse janitor, raise 10`s of thousands of corporation`s hogs with little personal risk.  Then Monsanto who came out with "Roundup Ready" crop.  Yes, you young people, gather around and I`ll tell you about the old days when Roundup killed every weed except your beans...even Pigweed.   The Bigshots didn`t have to hire yahoos to row cultivate, they could just spray enabling farmers to break through the 1500 acre ceiling.  Roundup has been relegated  to a "grass killer" however, new chemistry took it`s place. 

Unverferth marketed graincarts that doubled the capacity of combines, so we need 2 semis to keep up, no better get 4 or 6 semis.  Then came Auto Steer where now a idiot  😀 can plant corn straight as a string while playing Angry Birds on his phone.  A lot of fingers of blame, a lot of new game changers coming too like autonomus  driven machinery, cameras on sprayer booms that identify weeds before the nozzles have to spray, planters changing seeding rate and variety on the fly. 

Those things can`t be afforded or justified, however those who don`t adopt will be left behind.   I keep looking for a "money tree" in my backyard that everyone else seems to have, so far haven`t found one....maybe this morning.   😀

rsbs
Senior Advisor

Re: Review -- years before his time..... and it is his time

BA, if you study history, you will find that there were so-called "Bonanza" farms over 100 years ago that didn't have price supports, govt funded crop insurance, etc. that eventually failed and gave way back to family farms. This is the economic cycle that is now missing. if the Mega Farm had to go to a bank for financing without guarantees, they would be limited on expansion. No bank will ever loan you money without collateral. You can only borrow money if you can show you really don't need it.

And lenient bankruptcy law is another legal incentive. In our area we have a guy from about 50 miles away that rents some farms and when the crap hit the fan a decade ago and the high prices disappeared, he pretended to be nutz , went to St. Peter for a spell, got his debts reduced and is now going bigger than ever. New farms, new wife, etc. tens of thousands of acres.....is that what we want? We could have a couple dozen operators instead. 

The old days of tar and feathering probably had some plusses too. It is hard to legislate everything.....sometimes you need local morality.

sw363535
Honored Advisor

Re: Review -- years before his time..... and it is his time

A side note on "Peak Tech".........

Todays example --- telemetry on Irrigation....... I just got caught red handed....

1800 gallons per minute watering 370 acres

Electrical pump, Valley 1/2 mile Long circle sprinkler. has telemetry (ag sense with text messaging)

No oil to check...... except dripper.

tower 6 worked on Saturday, tower 7 worked on Monday.  Service man checks to see if working when done repairing and leaves it in dry mode --forgets to switch it back to wet.  Start up man (me) forgets to go to the Sprinkler control box to check, after all this sprinkler is started stopped and programmed from cell phones

Sometime Wednesday evening in the 100+ heat the electric pump shuts down.  Light keeps flashing & Sprinkler keeps walking.  Phone message didn't come..... (there is a world of fallacy just in the communications world of telemetry satalite, wifi, cell service in remote area....all gotta work.)

The following Monday I checked the sprinkler in daylight.  With all that tech we still need to see them working every day.  But survival means a lot of those checks are in the dark when it's cooler... with ear muffs on for servicing motors.

Found............. sprinkler running dry and missed 4 days of watering in 100+degree heat.......... ME..... I think the young guys depend on the tech far too much but the old guy who wants to see them daily gets caught believing a flashing light in the dark.

Technology not only gets in the way but fails when most of agriculture does not have the latest and greatest services. 

just one example.  But young farmers allow themselves to be deceived into thinking they can manage 50 of these systems at once..... Whether they don't have the accounting skills to know if it's true.

Tech is not our friend.

 

k-289
Esteemed Advisor

Re: Review -- years before his time..... and it is his time

 SW -  I'll  set  up  a  investor  meeting  for  our  partnership  on  that  ''' auto - dripper -monitor  '''  GIZMO  - 😎

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