On Sat, 6 May 2000 11:11:02 EDT, Erorganic@aol.com wrote:
>I went to S.E. South Dakota a month or so ago. Cargill makes the offer to
>all S. E. S. Dakota farmers and S. W. Minnesota farmers that they will lease
>all and any land that is tillable for $120 per acre and pay $65 per acre for
>any farmer to farm that land. They provide the seed, fertilizer and
>pesticides. The $120 was $20 to $40 above existing rental prices. Combined
>with $65 per acre to farm, whether drought or deluge, whatever the yield, the
>farmer has security for the first time. Sound familiar poultry and hog
>farmers? Cargill is the steward.
A bit of simplified historical context. There are three intertwined
elements in the history of land management ---
a) free access to land (ie, it's available)
b) free peasantry (ie, not enserfed)
c) non-working land owners
As a general rule, historically, you can have any two of these, but not
all three. As the percentage of non-working land owners increases
(banks, insurance companies, investors, retirees, etc.) increases
rapidly, either a) or b) will have to give.
In some areas, generally the prime land, things are locked up tighter
than a cow's backside in fly season. Land is simply not available.
In other areas (and your example seems to be one of them) there is an
emerging enserfment. This is certainly true in economically marginal
areas where there are few economic options, which is why concentrated
livestock operations are found in the places they're found.
Right now, things could go either way, or ultimately c) will drop back
out. These shifts usually play out over a generation or two before it
becomes clear which way things will go. If I had to pin down a
starting point, I'd probably say 1982 farm crisis, but it's really too
soon to tell.
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