Posted on

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…

Read more

Posted on

How Important is Your Yard?

Touch the Soil News #1044 (Feature photo – Backyard Garden – GNU Free Doc License) To help put that into perspective, there is value in being sensitive to events overseas. The international forum Farmlandgrab.org just published a short piece on the Great Polish Land Grab. The story has common themes around the world. Local and indigenous farmers are being forced out of business because they cannot afford to buy farmland. The influx of foreign capital is raising the price of farmland beyond what farmers can afford. Often, there are local henchmen that aid foreign interests in acquiring the land out from under a particular nation’s farmers. Polish farmers are complaining…

Read more

Posted on

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…

Read more

Posted on

Another Billion Dollar Farm and Food Investment

Touch the Soil News #838 (Feature photo – Saudi Coat of Arms) Unlike the economics of the past as envisioned by the World Trade Organization (WTO) – fostering global trade often for the benefit of the big traders, a newer form of trade – if you will – is festering. It is trade designed specifically for food security of specific nations. Saudi Arabia (population 33 million) and the United Arab Emirates (population 9.5 million) are working together to secure food from other nations specifically for export to their nations. The two nations just announced they are creating a special financial pool of $1.3 billion dollars to buy farmland, logistics and…

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

Nut Trees – Increasingly Desirable Agricultural Assets

Touch the Soil News #757 (feature photo – Pastachio nuts on the tree – Paolo Galli CC SA 3.0) When the health and nutrition community recognizes certain foods as healthier or health supporting, chances are the financial investments in those commodities will follow. Case in point. Gladstone Land is a company whose business model is based upon owning agricultural land in that produces fruit, vegetables and nuts – no livestock, corn, soybeans or hay. It is not an accident that Gladstone follows land that produces foods most important to health. Nuts are a rising star as relates to healthy eating and Gladstone Land just announced (7/17/2017) that it has purchased…

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

Farmland Consciousness

Touch the Soil News #739 We’ve all been in cities and watched how the nation’s best farmland was being urbanized. In 1950, the nation’s farmers were working 1,202,000,000 acres (1 billion 202 million acres). In 2017, the nation’s farmers are working only 910 million acres. Primarily due to urbanization, America has 292 million less acres. Of concern and for which there are no numbers, between 1950 and 1980 there were millions of acres of farmland still coming on line. Due to irrigation improvements and access to lands not previously farmed, our best guess estimate is that America has lost another 60 million acres hidden behind the larger overall net loss…

Read more

Posted on

Time to Think About Farmland Again

Touch the Soil News #605 (Feature photo – Shanghai, China with a metro population of over 35 million is consuming farmland on its outer edges). We all understand that civilization began in the most fertile areas and then expands out. Accordingly, a large sector of the world’s best farmland has been urbanized. Estimates are that the best farmland that has been urbanized and is about to be urbanized around mega-cities is almost twice as productive as farmland farther out. Recently, a group of scientists from Yale, Texas A&M, the University of Maryland and research institutions in Germany, New Zealand, Sweden and Austria gathered to study the loss of farmland mega-trend.…

Read more