Buying up American Farmland Has Gone Global
|February 14, 2014||Posted by Staff under Land Disputes|
This 2014 excerpt of Take Part, Feb 12, is by Steve Holt.
Wealthy international investors and corporations are buying up much of America’s usable land at astronomical prices per acre, turning the farmers into their tenants or repurposing the land altogether.
Farmland has now become the latest scarce ‘hot’ commodity for all sorts of speculators who have absolutely no interest in agriculture.
No local farmer can compete with $7,000 an acre.
Current values are around four times higher than the peak per-acre price reached during the bubble in the 1970s and ’80s that preceded the farm crisis.
The average age of farmers is 55 — and fewer young people are getting into the business.
Ed. Notes: Outsiders buying up homeland happens all the time in Africa and elsewhere. America is not exempt from that and, actually, never has been. Because we humans are land animals and have the instinct of ownership, and feel upset by trespassers, our hackles rise when the rich land-grabber is a foreigner but don’t even care when the absentee owner is a fellow countryman. Nationality (the horizontal dimension) matters but class (the vertical dimension) doesn’t count.
But in reality, investor owners won’t make different decisions; being from here or there won’t change any minds about preferring big agri-business, factory farms, selecting crops that travel well and can sit on shelves for long periods, using GMOs, mechanizing and automating with hot fertilizers, over-irrigating and thereby depleting the ground water, etc.
If people could care as much about sharing rents, making land value into our common wealth, rather than about the home address of absentee owners, then these downstream issues would no longer plague us. So how do we tie instinct to geonomics?