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Cropland Values & the Future Affordability Food

Touch the Soil News #1173 (Feature photo – American Farmland – Public Domain) The USDA tracks the value of American cropland – that is land used for crops, not livestock pasture. In their latest report of August 2018, the average value of an acre of cropland grew from $1,750 in 2004 to $4,130 in 2018. This equates to an average increase of 5 percent a year. All of this, as land is sold and traded, adds to the increase of the cost of food. Has the value of our purchasing power (income) gone up by 5 percent a year? Said in another way, have our incomes (since 2004) gone up…

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Unrest in Farmland USA

Touch the Soil News #781 According to an Iowa State University Land Value Survey, the going price for an acre of farmland in Iowa was $419 in 1970. By 2016, an acre of Iowa farmland averaged $7,183 – an increase of 1,600 percent. Today, America has around 918 million acres of farmland. Of that amount 318 million is primary farm ground for crops – grain, potatoes, soybeans, vegetables and fruits. The remaining 600 million acres is pasture for livestock. According to the USDA, about 30 percent of farmland (275 million acres) is not owned by farmers, but by non-farmers renting it out. With the median age of the American farmer…

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Africa’s Richest Man – To Be World’s Largest Farmer?

Touch the Soil News #751 (feature photo – Aliko Dangote – photo courtesy of the World Economic Forum CC SA 2.0) In the U.S. today, when farmers look to buy land to expand, they generally buy a retiring neighbor’s farm. Mostly they are parcels of a few hundred acres. A one (1) thousand acre parcel would be considered large purchase. The largest farms in America are in the 20,000 to 40,000 acre range with a few that can be larger. Expanding his stake in the farming scene is African billionaire Aliko Dangote (age 60). Forbes estimates that Dangote has an estimated net worth of $12.5 billion, which puts him within…

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USA Farmland Transition

Touch the Soil News #588 Over the last decade, economists have been warning about farm operators getting older. Today, about 1/3 of farm owners are over 65. A greater issue than the age of the farmer is the cost of farming and farm assets. Mainstream agriculture is so capital intensive that $1 million doesn’t mean much these days. Due to the aging farm operator population, the USDA just announced that they expect 10 percent of all farmland to change hands over the next five years. Total U.S. farmland stands at around 900 million acres. That means 90 million acres are set to change hands. Good cropland can sell for $10,000…

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U.S. Treasury – Protector of 100,000 Indigenous African Farmers?

Touch the Soil News #420 Virtually every day there are stories of indigenous African small farmers being removed from their small farms. While each story is different, the themes are similar: 1) Large investment and farming interests say African small farmers produce low yields. Greater yields can lead to exports and cash for cash-strapped nations. 2) Taking their land, employing them as farm labor, or helping them transition to mono-crops for export, the small farmers switch from self-sustenance to more expensive debt – mono-crop farming. The kind of farming that has eliminated 70 percent of American family farms. 3) Often times the “cash” piece provides incentives for corruption in which…

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News Round-Up

Touch the Soil News #343 March 18, 2016 – Walmart to Begin its Own Milk Processing In a surprise announcement, Walmart is going to open its own milk processing plan in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The more than 250,000 square foot facility will produce Walmart’s own white and chocolate milk brands called Great Value and Member’s Mark. The new facility will supply white and chocolate milk to 600 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores in the Midwest. March 18, 2016 – General Mills to Label GMO Ingredients While it is not all voluntary, General Mills announced it would label all foods containing genetically engineered ingredients. Part of the decision stems from the…

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