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Bill Gates Buys Farmland

Touch the Soil News #1138 (Feature photo – Bill Gates – photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.) Nudging back and forth as the richest and then the second richest man in the world, Bill is reported to have bought a major farm in the State of Washington. With a net worth of around $95 billion, The Land Report revealed that Gates purchased a farm from John Hancock (Insurance) for $171 million. Hancock purchased the farm in 2010 for only $75 million. Most of the value of the farmland is in the 10,500 acres of irrigated cropland in south central Washington. While John Hancock bought low and…

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Harvard University’s Investments into Farmland Steps on Indigenous People

Touch the Soil News #1116 (Feature photo – Argentine Farmer protests Harvard’s Farm Investments – photo courtesy of Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition) The global farmland grab trend attracts money from large investors looking to harvest more money than they put in. In the process, indigenous people are often dispossessed of their land and ways of life. Caught in the middle is Harvard that made some poor investment into foreign farmland that backfired, but not before much damage was done. You can read the full story here: https://www.grain.org/article/entries/6006-harvard-s-billion-dollar-farmland-fiasco https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzkBT6nZwyo Want More? – Sign up below Special Deals Ahead…Sign up!

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Companies Becoming More Powerful than Countries

Touch the Soil News #1094 (Feature photo – Rainforest Destruction, Often the Outcome of Corporate Land Grabbing – CC SA 2.0 Generic) In a sobering story at farmlandgrab.org, research is showing that large corporations are able to take land out from under the control of indigenous people. Most of the investors behind land grabbing schemes unfortunately come from the nations of the United States, the United Kingdom, China, United Arab Emirates and Malaysia. In a stunning accusation, author Shenali Waduge argues that the winners of globalizations and international trade agreements are the multinational corporations, since they are the least bothered by religion, ethnicity, culture or preservation of history. You can…

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Coming to a Farm Near You

Touch the Soil News #1041 (Feature photo – Corn Farm – Public Domain) The power of capital is everywhere, particularly in a nation that is cash-flow constrained. Consider that almost 50 million Americans are food insecure and for half of Americans a $400 unanticipated expense creates a hardship. In an economy that is hungry for dollars, loans and investments prosper to make up what can’t be paid for in cash. Agriculture is just one of many industries that have been identified for strictly investment purposes. Unfortunately, much of the money out there looking for an investment comes from our own retirement planning. According to the Investment Company Institute, retirement assets…

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Farmland – Competition is Heating Up

Touch the Soil News #949 (Feature photo – Geographical Map of China – GNU Free Doc License) Over the past few years, foreign investors looking to own farmland continues upward. The nation of Australia is caught in a political turmoil. The Australian government’s recent investigation shows that Chinese ownership of Australian farmland has grown from 3.7 million acres to 36 million acres. That is equivalent to a farm 60 miles wide and 100 miles long. In France, Chinese billionaires are buying up vineyards. Recently, a 4,200 acre parcel of prime food-growing farmland in central France was – through legal manipulation by attorneys – sold to Chinese interests. The sale caused…

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Farmland Grab – It’s Heating Up

Touch the Soil News #824 (Feature photo Ben Gisin) Farmland Grab is a concept that emerged out of a global food crisis in 2008. At that time, certain foods became short, prices skyrocketed and nations who could not raise all their food, experienced political and social unrest. This caused a number of nations to lose confidence in the global food trade as it provided no assurance of supply. In fact, years of good supply result in price collapses for farmers which can foreshadow domino-effect shortages as farmers retract. One of the world’s largest agricultural nations is Australia. Australia has experienced huge sales of agricultural land to foreigners. Australians have demanded…

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Sobering

Touch the Soil News #805 (Feature photo – The National Congress Building of Brazil – a government unable to exert sufficient control over exploitation of the indigenous people in rural areas – copyright free) Far away in the rainforests and hinterlands of Brazil, agribusinesses and big finance can be found plundering the environment and the indigenous folks who live there.­­­ Recently, a delegation of 30 human rights, development and rural experts collaborated in an unprecedented visit (investigation) to the Brazilian hinterlands. The goal was to uncover rumors of gross misconduct towards indigenous folks from large soybean farm enterprises. See the report summary here: http://www.fian.org/en/news/article/caravana_matopiba_uncovers_alarming_human_and_environmental_costs_of_agribusiness/ The investigation was an international fact…

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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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Is Santos Selling Out his People?

Touch the Soil News #716 (feature photo – Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos – CC SA 3.0 Brazil) Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos is leading his country into what could well be the largest farmland transaction in human history. Santos has been accused of leading one of the most corrupt regimes in Africa by ignoring the economic and social needs of Angola. Santos is also accused of focusing his efforts on amassing wealth for his family and silencing his opposition. While Santos occupies the Presidency of Angola, corrupt regimes usually engage many people who have simply learned and adopted corruption from their predecessors. Angola sits along the West…

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