Friday, July 8, 2011

Want to Make More than a Banker?
Become a Farmer!

If you want to become rich, Jim Rogers, investment whiz, best-selling author and one of Wall Street's towering personalities, has this advice: Become a farmer. Food prices have been high recently. Some have questioned how long that can continue. Not Rogers. He predicts that farming incomes will rise dramatically in the next few decades, faster than those in most other industries — even Wall Street. The essence of his argument is this: We don't need more bankers. What we need are more farmers. The invisible hand will do its magic. "The world has got a serious food problem," says Rogers. "The only real way to solve it is to draw more people back to agriculture....."

Read the rest of this article from TIME


Blogger Jennifer said...

I read the article and it appeared they were talking about huge, big time farmers - ones that had hundreds of acres planted with just 1 crop. I would like to see a rise in the small farmer who has just a few acres planted with many different items. It was interesting to read though.

July 8, 2011 at 9:29 PM  
Blogger CJ said...

What the article doesn't say is that the "invisible hand" in agriculture in cheap oil. I found the article quite depressing, sounds like nobody has learned a thing about farming.

July 8, 2011 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger Rosie said...

Sadly this is referring to commodity farmers and the authors portrayal of GM seed is completely off base. But that is the only thing Wall Street understands, big money - big business.
These types of monoculture farmers are abusing the land and destroying the soils which is alarming. Only time will tell if this can be turned around.

Dr Huber's letter to the Secretary of Agriculture about the newly discovered pathogen that causes infertility and spontaneous abortions in livestock from consuming GM grain and crops grown using Roundup has not crossed the authors desk. Dr Huber has warned against GM alfalfa approval but at this point no one is listening.

Keep farming on a smaller scale, support your local farmer, that is what is needed.

July 8, 2011 at 11:13 PM  
Blogger Bex said...

While I don't totally agree with the author, I do understand the point of sharing this article. Farming has always been seen as low income and a waste of time for educated persons, no matter what form it comes in. Having an expert voice sing out that one is capable of making more money in farming than on Wall Street is huge. Thank you for sharing this.

July 8, 2011 at 11:23 PM  
Blogger The Urban Rabbit said...

While I agree with the other posters here, I also think that there is space for the small farmer to make a place for themself. It's hard work but if you market yourself well and make a farm work you can make money. Just look at Nature's Harmony Farm. They are a wonderful example of a company that can make a difference and they knew nothing about farming.

July 8, 2011 at 11:49 PM  
Blogger Yellow Wolf Farm said...

Don't kid yourself-this article is about commodity farmers who are being subsidized by our government. A farmer interviewed on NPR lately said that he is paid in the seven figures by our government NOT to put his thousands of acres into production. Your local farmers are barely living above the poverty level-we are not getting rich or approaching "banker's wages" by any means. Most do not even make minimum wage.

July 9, 2011 at 12:34 AM  
Blogger admin said...

It would be nice if family farms could see an upturn. Living amongst what most would consider large scale family farmers I saw firsthand that most were living barely above poverty in old houses that needed a lot of TLC, pinching pennies everywhere, and almost always having a spouse who worked another job to get by. When something like ethanol came along something else would counter it, like high fuel prices. Some did get by with what might be called fantastic luck or extra ingenuity, but most of the one’s that were making good had sold out to cooperations or were Hutterite Colonies. There was quite a cultural and political divide between the two classes, and lots of families selling the farm and moving on.

July 9, 2011 at 1:46 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

I shared the article not because I agree with everything in it, but because of this:

We don't need more bankers. What we need are more farmers. The invisible hand will do its magic. "The world has got a serious food problem," says Rogers. "The only real way to solve it is to draw more people back to agriculture."

I think farming, regardless of scale, is starting to be seen differently by many people. The fact that a magazine would put a headline like that up, says something. And I thought it would be a good discussion topic.

July 9, 2011 at 5:57 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

I agree with Yellow Wolf Farm. And because I can't seem to find something nice to say I will leave it at that.

July 9, 2011 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

...and he was joking right?
Perhaps agri business or those who own 80,000acres in Kansas and have tenant farmers. Suspect that monetary richness isn't the reward for the 10 acre farmer now or in the future.

July 9, 2011 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger admin said...

I agree that we need anything but more bankers—and we definitely have a food problem! Time will tell what that will result in—there is hope always. Look at everyone who would love to farm or are farming because they could never spend their lives another way who visit your blog alone. Making it achievable for people to go back to agriculture and then making it possible for those people to be successful enough to keep growing and help fix this food problem is the challenge—definitely a good discussion point. Agriculture is the heart to many towns’ economies across the U.S. right down to the amount of teachers needed at the school and whether a local grocery store, veterinarian, or gas station can stay in business and when that’s suffering …that’s a whole other discussion point.

July 9, 2011 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger CJ said...

I figured that was the reason it was posted but I think that line was a loss leader for the article.

Would people feel the same way if an article said "What we need is more teachers. Who cares if they can teach, let them borrow 10's of thousands and dollars and get out in that work force "educating" our kids."

We need not just more farmers, we need competent farmers who understand the cycles of farming. Planting 10,000 acres of corn or soy beans and replacing the nitrogen lost with fossil fuel is not farming. Paying $200,000 for a tractor is preventing many from even getting in the game. Mega-farms driving the cost of acreage up to $4000 an acre is not going to produce more farmers.

My idea is to follow the precedent of Ma Bell and break up these mega farms into 100 acre parcels and give those who agree to farm sustainably low cost loans to get them started. Equipment cooperatives could be created so that not every farm has to buy the same equipment as his neighbors, the equipment burden could be spread out among a dozen or so farms.

I realize this is not the capitalist way, and therefore don't wonder much my small place.

July 9, 2011 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I highly recommend those interested in this topic read the book "The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer" by Joel Salatin. He addresses this issue directly by advocating that the "best and brightest" among us should become farmers (he uses the term white-collar farmers)and decries the stereotypical unintelligent country bumpkin. It is ironic that farmers of the past (think Jefferson, etc.) were universally acknowledged as worldly, well-read and intelligent people. Whether or not someone is interested in farming themselves, they are living in serious denial if they say farming isn't an important and valued profession. You can't eat a dollar bill. Thanks for encouraging an intersting conversation, Jenna.

July 9, 2011 at 3:21 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I agree with Redbird..both times. As grain farmers in Central Illinois, I can honestly say that every time the prices go up, it seems the inputs (costs to produce the crop) go up, as well. Farmers are the only people I can think of that produce a product, and someone else tells them what price they can get for it (Board of Trade). Believe me. If farmers are getting rich now, it's news to me. We farm a bit over 1,000 acres of corn and soybeans (gasp...what horrible products) and that used to be considered a large farm. Not anymore. Also, farmers pay every cent of their own health insurance, plus BOTH parts of the social security and medicare taxes. If you work for a company or small business, the business or corporation picks up one half of those costs for you. We also don't have anyone putting money in a 401K for us, so planning for retirement falls entirely on us. Redbird is right. If the farmers fail, thousands of small communities fail, too.

July 9, 2011 at 3:55 PM  
Blogger Ellen said...

Hi Jenna -- want to say that I just finished your book and am completely inspired to start homesteading...and it's so funny for I am originally a NYC girl...anyhow, today, just tried your recipe for homemade pasta and the sauce and we will see how that turns out...but I did purchase some canning jars (second hand YES!) for my upcoming self-lesson canning.
Thanks again for your book!

July 9, 2011 at 5:05 PM  
Blogger chesapeake said...

I cannot for the life of me figure out how the author of the article is so damn shortsighted. He (she? I was too angry to check) says in the same article that the world has a food crisis and then talks about ethanol being great for farmers. REALLY? Ethanol is one major part of the issue with rising food costs. I love how no one brings up the amount of fossil fuels needed to produce GMO corn for ethanol.

I was interested to see the stats on meat consumption between India, China, and the US. What an eye-opener (and more rage, as the author spoke positively of those countries increasing their intake).

Off to read some Joel Salatin to cleanse my palate. For some perspective: I'm glad blogs like this exist. Because without you, Jenna, I never would have started changing the way my family eats. I never would have known about GMOs, or alternative farming methods. So thank you. *You* are changing the connotation of the word farmer, not TIME magazine.

July 10, 2011 at 11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to comment as someone who didn't read the article at all, but who just read Jenna's post. I assumed the topic would be the ever-increasing costs of fuel and how this is bound to make things better for local, small farmers. Despite the fact that it seems the article wasn't about that, I'd like to put in a positive word on that topic anyways. In his book "Why Your World is about to Get a Whole Lot Smaller" Jeff Rubin notes that as fuel prices go up (as they inevitably will) local manufacturing and farming will return and be in demand. Those big monoculture operations cannot exist without cheap oil. I definitely believe that small-scale, local, sustainable farming is going to be an increasingly "in demand" occupation. So here's to that future!

July 10, 2011 at 10:43 PM  
Blogger Miranda said...

It is also of note that the author mentioned the comparison of the amount of meat consumed in the U.S vs. other countries, and the "room for growth". Just what the world needs! More CAFOs to cheaply MANUFACTURE animals so the rest of the world can be as sick and fat as we are!

July 12, 2011 at 10:35 AM  

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