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are farming having a good business these days?
Posted by: space-time
Date: April 15, 2008 08:10PM
I don't know any farmer here in the US, but I remember reading many years ago that they had a pretty hard time, they needed subsidies to survive and many were calling it quits.

These days with biofuel and food prices rising all over the world, I wonder if farming business is in fact lucrative or if they're in the same bad shape I remember reading about 15 years ago.


Although I don't intent this as a political thread (we're not talking about why there is demand for biofuel, if it makes sense or not), I presume this thread will be soon moved to the other side.
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Re: are farming having a good business these days?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: April 15, 2008 08:15PM
Farming is, like most businesses, a study in the need to expand or die. Mechanisation was a great boon, BUT with that came loans, mortgages, etc. The 'family farm' so beloved of American TV of the 50's and 60's is, by and large, gone.
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Re: are farming having a good business these days?
Posted by: Jack D.
Date: April 15, 2008 08:33PM
We're too busy trying to help out those poor oil companies, we don't have time to worry about farmers!



- Jack D.




New tasteless sig coming soon!
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Re: are farming having a good business these days?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: April 15, 2008 08:45PM
Uh, no, the oil companies have had little to do with the plight of farmers. Credit, cost of equipment, cost of land, land taxes, and so forth have all combined to drive the family farm out of the American reality, and leave the "Factory Farm" corporation in its place.,

While the 'cost of food' is higher, the family farms are, in the main, long gone. It's news of the late 20th century, not the 21st.
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Re: are farming having a good business these days?
Posted by: Jack D.
Date: April 15, 2008 08:58PM
Quote
cbelt3
Uh, no, the oil companies have had little to do with the plight of farmers. Credit, cost of equipment, cost of land, land taxes, and so forth have all combined to drive the family farm out of the American reality, and leave the "Factory Farm" corporation in its place.,

While the 'cost of food' is higher, the family farms are, in the main, long gone. It's news of the late 20th century, not the 21st.

cbelt3, add some <sarcasm> to my post above and take a breath.... smiling smiley Oil companies bad, farmers good. I live down the hill from an ex-dairy farm, I know what you're talking about. They sold the herd and now mostly sell feed and repair heavy equipment for others to pay the bills. Although I do wish evil on the 2 goats that insist on sleeping in the middle of the road right at the 4 way stop!



- Jack D.




New tasteless sig coming soon!
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Re: are farming having a good business these days?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: April 15, 2008 09:02PM
Ah, I was just ignoring the sarcasm element (and trying to avoid a dash into politics). My parents had to sell my grandfather's dairy farm when he passed. It was the LAST farm in the entire county in Connecticut. Fortunately they donated a bunch of acreage to the town as permanent greenspace, and the guy that bought it is using it for Horses.
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Re: are farming having a good business these days?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: April 15, 2008 10:21PM
Mu uncle the stockbroker said there is a bubble in the agricultural futures market and that farmers are over-extending for John Deere stuff like there's no tomorrow and that they will be SOL when the bubble bursts.
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Re: are farming having a good business these days?
Posted by: JoeBob
Date: April 15, 2008 11:14PM
We have been renting the family farm to one of those huge corporations for years.
You can't afford to farm a small family operation (66 acres), and none of the family is interested in farming.
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Re: are farming having a good business these days?
Posted by: outcast
Date: April 16, 2008 01:41AM
That's a tough question to answer.

Even with the upswing in micro farms in this country in the past decade or so due in part possibly to an increasesed demand for locally grown produce and such, and a possible re-emergence of the whole "back to the land movement," the small family farms have been in decline for the past several decades.

Although I think it's quite possible to argue that farming has become more difficult on a smaller size due the power of industrial agriculture, it is still possible, but it is requiring a change in how it's been done in the past. Remaining farms that are fortunate enough to be located close enough to urban areas can often take advantage of people's increased desire for locally grown produce by selling at farmer's markets or through CSA programs. There is also the developing world of agritourism and the production of value added products that visitors may purchase as well. The efforts to obtain and maintain organic certification have also been shown to increase sales and profits.

As oil prices continue to increase and the cost of fertilizers and transportation go up as well, the resulting impact on the cost of food that we all eat may be dramatic. It may well be that that the that those small farms that still survive may once again be significant sources of local affordable food for their surrounding regions.


outcast
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Re: are farming having a good business these days?
Posted by: JoeBob
Date: April 16, 2008 05:42AM
Unfortunately, our farm is in an overwhelmingly rural, primarily agricultural area.
Little opportunity for agritourism, organics, or niche products.
Unless someone wanted to take on the farm full time, (highly unlikely), even the organic route is limited.
A farmers market tie in might be possible, but about 60 miles each way.
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Re: are farming having a good business these days?
Posted by: TheTominator
Date: April 16, 2008 10:02AM
I think the original post is about crop farming. From personal experience, I can only comment on our animal farm operation.

Our sheep farm is feeling the pinch from higher costs of grain for feed. While we can produce enough hay for our own needs in most years, this past year we had to purchase hay (at a very high price) to supplement.

While we sell premium meat and wool, realistially we don't expect to make a profit on our small farm because the production costs are too high and we don't have the efficiencies of a larger operation (e.g. massive operations in Australia or New Zealand). For us, it is primarily a lifestyle that we enjoy despite the hard work involved.

Plus it is the only way that we can keep our land. If it stops being 'farm' in the land use designation, the property taxes would skyrocket and we'd have to sell this land that has been in our family for generations.

From what I have heard about the crop production side, small farmers can't compete with the multi-industry monopoly held by Monsanto. Further discussion on that topic would cause this thread to be moved to the other side.
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Depends.
Posted by: pdq
Date: April 16, 2008 01:56PM
We got a grain farm passed down to us kids, and the farmer next door works his land _and_ ours for a portion of the crop. Land's paid for, no payments for machinery, etc.

Wheat and corn prices are currently sky high.

So it's a cash cow. A _small_ cash cow, but it should be a little bigger this year. And the land (at least currently) is appreciating to scary values despite (and maybe because) of the fact that it has no real-estate developer potential. Unless you want to live in a condo 150 miles from the nearest town of over 10,000 people.
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