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Living Off the Land: Sell high, buy low.
June 26, 2011 1:20 PM   Subscribe

Reivestments, surging prices for commodities yield tidy sums for farmers. Midwest farmers seem to playing a system to their advantage. May be of worth to small farms being pushed out by encroaching growth.
posted by goalyeehah (10 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Same thing is happening in Central Florida. Orange groves were sold off to provide land for the building boom. Now the builders are out of business, and the citrus growers are buying back their groves for nothing.
posted by Flood at 1:38 PM on June 26, 2011


Good for them, it's about time farmers got a break.

"The Chicago-area acreage won't yield as large a crop as the more fertile soil downstate, but the Baltz family is looking past corn and soybeans to the eventual return of homebuilders."

This is kind of depressing though. I'd rather see an active farm than another endless suburb.
posted by madajb at 1:57 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Playing a system to their advantage sounds dishonest or unethical, but there doesn't seem to be much of that here. Buying low and selling high is pretty run of the mill investment strategy. And it could have very easily not panned out if favor of those farmers.
posted by 2N2222 at 1:59 PM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


One potential problem with the whole "sell your land to builders, buy it back later for a pittance" thing is that, many times, when a developer buys farm land, one of the first things they do is to strip-off all the valuable top-soil and sell it to other businesses...landscapers and the like. That's why so many suburban developments have some of the crappiest soil around.

I sure as hell wouldn't buy-back land that has been stripped like that. At least, not for farming.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:01 PM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I sure as hell wouldn't buy-back land that has been stripped like that. At least, not for farming.

Okay, but that seems neither here nor there in the story. Is that what those farmers are doing? They seem smart enough to avoid buying non-arable land. It's not as if they're buying land for the sole purpose of selling it to developers if/when developers are willing to buy at a profit. Though if they can afford it, why not? It seems they're looking to make that land work for them until that time comes.
posted by 2N2222 at 2:23 PM on June 26, 2011


Meanwhile, JPMorgan has started an hedging facility to help the poor third world farmers face the volatility of food commodities prices. Oh yeah, I see what they have done.... there are "hidden speculators" out there (wink,wink) bad evil people...we'll help you fight against them for a modest, modest price (that I haven't found out on the net yet).

Reminds me of the story of a guy who tought that poor defenceless people surely could use protection from lurking evils, so he tought it was only fair to ask for a price to be paid for his valuable "protection" job. But because of his being exceptionally good at protecting people, evil didn't show up...so people tought the risk had ended and stopped paying him for his services. People were shocked, shocked ! (much like Greenspan was shocked! and then some more with extra exclamation points) to discover that he eventually tought that setting up some houses on fire could have been a fine way to remember them that evil risk always lurks! He was so much an upstanding, prestigeous, polite guy!
posted by elpapacito at 2:41 PM on June 26, 2011


Maybe someone will organize a benefit music festival for them.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:49 PM on June 26, 2011


This has worked out very successfully for Weyerhauser -- buy some clearcut land near a major city, plant trees, wait 30 years, chop trees down, build houses on the land using their own wood (using the rest for paper) and finally sell the houses. They've been running this system for much of the last century and have been extremely good at it, at least until the recent housing crash. So this isn't exactly a new idea.
posted by miyabo at 8:03 PM on June 26, 2011


This is kind of depressing though. I'd rather see an active farm than another endless suburb.

I agree, madajb, but it's rather inevitable, like highways cutting through pristine forests and access limits in national parks.

Barring mass sterilization, of course.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:18 AM on June 27, 2011


IAmBroom writes "I agree, madajb, but it's rather inevitable, like highways cutting through pristine forests and access limits in national parks. "

While it's mostly inevitable as long as the population continues to grow it is possible to retard the process somewhat. BC for example has province wide land development restrictions that, in theory, prevent the development of farm land into housing. It isn't perfect by any stretch but it is much better than a do nothing alternative.
posted by Mitheral at 2:44 AM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


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