Posted on

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…

Read more

Posted on

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…

Read more

Posted on

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…

Read more

Posted on

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…

Read more

Posted on

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…

Read more

Posted on

Billion Dollar Checkbooks Still Buying Farmland

Touch the Soil News #705 (feature photo – Ethiopian women picking beans – source, Executive office of the President of the U.S. 2005) The Australian Government recently released the latest statistics about who is buying Australian Farmland. As of the 2015-2016 farming year, foreign investment in Australian farmland hit $4.6 billion, up from $2.5 billion the year before. It is interesting to see where the foreign buyers were coming from. The top four buyers were: American investors bought $1.3 billion in Australian farmland Chinese investors bought $996 million in Australian farmland U.K investors bought $338 million in Australian farmland Canadian investors bought $240 million in Australian farmland   So how…

Read more

Posted on

Who Is Interested in “Cherry” Picking Farmland?

Touch the Soil News #493 (feature photo – ripe almond nuts CC 2.5) If your contacts are many and people know you are in the business, you can create an agricultural empire by buying good farms. That seems to be the strategy of Gladstone Land Corporation. This Wall-Street investment company – focused on owning productive farmland – was organized in January of 2013. Gladstone made news recently when it acquired two large California almond farms totaling 2,485 acres. The purchase price of $27.5 million represents about $11,000 per acre. The farms are located in Stanislaus County – in the central heart of California. Stanislaus County’s economy is primary agricultural with…

Read more

Posted on

Investors and the Growing Food Demand

Touch the Soil News #488 (feature photo CC 2.0) Milltrust International is a global investment management company with headquarters in London and Singapore. They have a special division that deals in agricultural (farmland) investments. The CEO of Milltrust, Simon Hopkins, recently participated in a revealing interview about the growing investments in agricultural assets. Following are some of the highlights of Hopkins’ remarks: This past year saw the birth of the 7th billion person on the planet and the global population is generally expected to exceed 9 billion people by 2050. According to the scientists, the world is currently sustainable with a population of somewhere between 300 million and 2 billion, depending…

Read more

Posted on

The Stakes in Berry Farms Are Getting Higher

Touch the Soil News #461 Many of our parents and grandparents were used to going out in the country and picking berries right off the farm – it was called u-pick. Today, many home gardeners still plant berries and enjoy them off the vine. As an industrial agricultural crop, berries represent a huge capital investment in terms of land, labor, chemicals, fertilizers, harvest and cold storage. The highly perishable nature of berries represents a costly undertaking in terms of transport, extending shelf life and risk of spoilage. The point of this discussion is that berry production requires large amounts of capital – and that’s where Wall Street comes in. While…

Read more

Posted on

European Union – Our Farm is Not Big Enough

Touch the Soil News #453 Many nations around the world (and some continents) do not have enough farmland to feed themselves. So whether they import food or try to own farmland overseas, the realization is the same – the homeland farm is not big enough. Friends of the Earth (Europe) recently released a watershed report: The True Cost of Consumption – The EU’s Land Footprint. They wanted to know how much farmland the European Union is short of when it comes to providing food for all of its citizens. Cover of the report. The True Cost of Consumption – The EU’s Land Footprint is the first of its kind in…

Read more