Genetically-Modified Corn Mows Down 2 Million Acres Of Grassland In Five Years
We are in the midst of one hell of a farmland bubble in this nation. The evidence is that it’s far larger than the farmland bubble experienced during the late 70s and early 80s. A friend of my family sold their farm in the fourth quarter of last year and fetched $10,000 an acre. That might not seem like a lot but I can remember when prices were $2,000 an acre. Actually, I can remember less than that but I don’t want to date myself.
If you appreciate what the yield on that farmland is and the input costs into growing those industrial farming products, you realize this is a huge ticking time bomb. (Yield calculators and cost metrics are available online at just about every midwestern university agricultural school.) I find it absolutely hilarious that Bernanke was just quoted in the last week that he’s not worried about any assets being in bubble territory. Well, Bernanke got everything wrong going into the 2008 collapse as the video I posted on here years ago highlighted in his endless nonsensical blatherings. Central banking is a clear example of institutionalized incompetence.
Not only are the year-over-year farmland price rises higher than the last farmland bubble but there are additional macro factors above and beyond the huge swell in prices. One of those is the endless money printing over the last thirty years to cover over the horrendous collapse of the American economy under Reagan and Clinton. I suspect we could easily see upwards of an 80% drop in farmland values whenever the shit hits the fan. But now that industrial farming has become so prevalent, it’s corporations and massive industrial farmers that are holding the bag. And that bag relies almost exclusively on corporate welfare and government subsidies for what is oftentimes poisonous and toxic food. In other words, without government handouts and market rigging for companies like Monsanto, prices would have already collapsed. (As an aside, allowing corporations to own farmland has made it almost impossible for individual citizens to actually afford to farm anymore. That is, unless they inherited land or are involved in some form of anti-industrial farming. Even a small “gentleman’s farm” of 50 acres would cost north of half a million dollars. That’s not including the house, outbuildings, barns, livestock, machinery, etc. 50 acres is nothing. The startup costs would be well over a million dollars. Of course, a banker might be willing to load you up with massive leverage and soak you of your day’s work to fund this tyranny but in the end industrial farming corporate-welfare has priced citizens out of the market. That is, until this system unwinds. It most certainly will as we have discussed in years past - remember, one of the long time theses on here is this cycle could be termed the end of big. And I have written a game theory post on how many of our most revered and largest corporations are likely to fall like dominos or shrink substantially at some point.)
It has probably been at least three or four few years since I have written about the coming farming implosion in any detail but we started to see this system unwind back in 2009. Farmers started killing livestock, dumping milk, etc because industrial farming’s rigged economics started to destabilize. Bulldozing livestock is a little like bulldozing houses to restart the housing market. It’s an insane but possibly effective method of dealing with falling prices. When it comes to food, reducing the supply in any material way is going to present potential devastation and even starvation in many countries. Or, it could simply break the grip of food tyranny that the U.S. has on many countries around the world and restore local food freedom. Or both. I’ve written about these dynamics in past years but want to at least mention them for new readers. We can hope for the best but unless we see some radical reforms, it’s coming.
That we are trading in pristine grassland that serves many substantial ecological and farming purposes to overproduce more industrial-farming genetically-modified corn laced with millions of more pounds of pesticides and chemicals is simply another sign of the corporate-capitalist industrial-food-monopoly run amok. Our food system is clearly run by dumbed-down political and corporate idiots and we are paying with our health, our lives and the increasing toxicity of our environment.
As a democratic society, we eventually need to start having discussions about land planning for our food freedom rather than allowing capitalism to continually reallocate prime agricultural land to build more shopping malls with no consideration of what happens next. And whether that planning involves only private ownership or also public ownership of food production. I suspect it will eventually involve both as food freedom becomes a basic right of democracy. In other words, because it’s not the year 1679 and we no longer raise our own individual food on our private plots of land, public food production might become a necessity for democracy. Just one example of how public ownership of food production might start to unfold was presented in my recent post about the minimum wage.
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