WOW! Hay prices are through the roof again! (Rant) - Page 7 - The Horse Forum
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post #61 of 69 Old 03-27-2019, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by carshon View Post
I am not against corporate farms - I am against the governments constant meddling in agriculture. We as a country are too driven by big business - our politicians care more about voting on party lines and for their major donors than they do for the average American. I fear the worst is yet to come for the American farmer.

Very well said. And this issue doesn't know party, no matter how hard each side tries to make it. It's all smoke and mirrors.

The left wing and the right wing are part of the same bird.
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post #62 of 69 Old 03-27-2019, 11:09 AM
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As a country (or state, or county) becomes more urban, rural areas become less important politically. As a result, cities increasingly drive the politics that dominate rural issues - be it mustangs, farmland, food policies, etc. When I was in Washington state, the saying was that every vote you needed to win statewide office could be seen from the Space Needle. And politicians take care of those who put them in office, be they city dwellers or money givers.

My sheep rancher friend told me the wool he sells goes to China for processing, and some of it then returns to America for production. That can only make economic sense if politicians are putting fat thumbs on the economic scales. It isn't just the US, either. Looked it up and found this: "The first exports of wool to China started more than half a century ago, with some records dating back to the 1920s, and today it is Australia’s largest customer, taking on average 75% of its total wool exports....The trade has expanded substantially since 1990 when China accounted for only 4% of Australia wool exports."

"Many, if not most, stores in Reykajvik that claim to sell Icelandic sweaters are actually making them in China or in some other country that sells cheap labour. Their usual process is to ship wool to China and have the sweaters made there by who-knows-who, not Icelanders at least. There has been a debate whether or not a sweater designed in Iceland and then made in China (maybe and maybe not from Icelandic wool) is indeed Icelandic."

So it seems Iceland and Australia face some of the same issues. I wish I knew the answers. Washington DC is filled with people who BELIEVE they do. And maybe they do, assuming they are answering to people in cities who want a sweater that is a dollar cheaper and who the heck cares what it does to small towns and rural areas!
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post #63 of 69 Old 03-27-2019, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by carshon View Post
@egrogran excellent blog article. I will say this - here in the upper Midwest we are starting see the first signs of what the new tariffs have done. In the past 6 months we have had more farm land go up for sale and sit unsold than we have seen in many years. Prime farm ground was bringing up to $10K/acre in my area. Recently a section of B ground could not sell at auction because the highest bid was about $5k/acre - and lower than what that farmer owed on the land he had purchased 10 years ago. There is a lot of talk of what happened in the 80's happening again. The 80's were devastating in my area.

I am not against corporate farms - I am against the governments constant meddling in agriculture. We as a country are too driven by big business - our politicians care more about voting on party lines and for their major donors than they do for the average American. I fear the worst is yet to come for the American farmer.
We're seeing it here, too. Five years ago, farmland in our area was selling for $28,000 an acre, and farmers were buying up any land they could get because corn and bean prices were high and life was good. Farmland for sale now sells for much less, and then it sells to large corporate farms and not the neighbor who wants it to expand his own small operation-- the small family farmers are priced out entirely. My husband's family owns a large farm, and thank goodness it's all paid for because it went from profitable to barely breaking even over the last two years, and that's without any loans on the land or equipment. My husband was considering going into farming with his dad since our state legislators are undercutting schools and teachers to the point where teaching isn't a valid occupation anymore, but his dad said no way would he let him take over the farm right now-- by the time he bought out his sister's share or if he had to pay rent to her for her half, there would be no profit in it. And we'd have to sell half the land to pay the taxes, which means there's not enough acreage to sustain a profit right now. The general rule of thumb is you need 1000 - 1200 acres to break even these days in row crops, and that was a few years ago. It's worse now.

The money in farming right now is in factory-farmed hogs and cattle. Industrial wind turbines are swarming in on struggling farmers and promising $10,000/year for each windmill put up on the property-- but when you do that, you lose the farmland forever and you lose the right to decide where that windmill goes, and if your family is bothered by the constant noise, shadow flicker, or if it starts on fire and burns your crops or blows over in a thunderstorm or breaks down, too bad. When you sign the agreement, you sign away any right to complain. Plus all of that energy goes out-of-state, not locally.

Due to the catastrophic tariffs, a lot of farmers in our area kept back most of their corn and nearly all of their soybeans back in bins hoping that prices would go up--- even a .10 per bushel increase means thousands or tens of thousands more dollars for the producer. But then we had record winter snowfall and hard rains two weeks ago and massive flooding--- most of those bins flooded and the grain inside is now worthless and unfit for sale or use as animal feed. I'm sure we'll see a rash of aflatoxin issues in grain and pet food like we did 8 or 10 years ago when desperate farmers sold moldy corn to the manufacturers without disclosing it had been flooded or stored in bins that couldn't keep up with the rain and humidity that summer, and a lot of animals died...

Corporate, large-scale farming has put the squeeze on smaller producers-- those that still exist usually have every family member working another full-time job, or the farmer is well into his 70's or older and just keeps going because he doesn't want to lose the farm but his kids can't afford to take it over. Farmer suicide is a huge problem and growing. One local man shot himself last summer. The reason? His life insurance would mean his wife could afford to pay off the rest of the farm and keep it, and pay for health insurance so she could get her cancer treated, and so his granddaughter could go to college. "All I wanted was to provide a good life for my family. Nothing extravagant... just land we owned outright, a safe home, food and healthcare and a good education. My death means I can finally do that" was on the note he put in the mail to his family the morning he drove out to the end of his field by the river and shot himself.

With farmers scraping by on row crops and large scale animal production, prices for hay will continue to rise. Land doesn't pay for itself when it's in hay; it can in corn. Horse pastures are fallow land that isn't making money. Every farm used to have a big pasture. Now very few do. Every pasture, bit of yard, and the old groves and windbreaks and farmyards are plowed under and planted in corn. Cattle and hogs are raised on lots or in buildings and fed concentrated feed. Every half mile or so, there's a cluster of 3 or 4 hog buildings holding thousands of hogs. Regulations limit the amount of animals on each section of land, hence spacing them out. My parent's pretty little acreage/farm is now surrounded by dozens of hog buildings, and there's nothing they can do about it. Their neighbors would rather not deal with the danger and stench of confinement hog farming, but it pays the bills so they keep on doing it. Sadly, more and more of the processing of pork and chicken is now done in China. It's cheaper to ship the meat there, have it cut and processed, then ship it back than it is to pay American workers to do it. Unfortunately, that also means the regulations that keep the meat safe aren't always followed. Those 10-for $1.00 chicken nuggets at the fast food place? Processed chicken from China. A lot of the meat labelled 'product of the USA' is also packaged in China-- but that doesn't have to be disclosed. If you want to know your meat was raised and processed in the US, buy from small producers and have your meat processed locally. It isn't cheap, but you know your meat was humanely raised, humanely slaughtered, and processed by people living in your community.

Already loans are coming due on farms with the producers having no way to pay them. The banks will hold off on collecting for awhile, because they know that when the farmers don't make money, they also aren't spending money on seed, fertilizer, fuel, supplies, food, building improvements, seed, etc. One local farmer said that after expenses, he made $9800 last year on a 900-acre farm. Thank goodness his wife has a good job in town or they would have lost their farm. The death of the American family farm walks hand in hand with the death of small-town America.
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Last edited by SilverMaple; 03-27-2019 at 03:19 PM.
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post #64 of 69 Old 03-27-2019, 04:04 PM
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That should be the last post on this topic @SilverMaple . Brilliantly said, though I have a tear in my eye at the suicide note.
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post #65 of 69 Old 03-27-2019, 04:06 PM
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*Another double post- apologies, computer connection to internet just went haywire!*

Last edited by egrogan; 03-27-2019 at 04:13 PM.
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post #66 of 69 Old 03-27-2019, 04:06 PM
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*Double post*
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post #67 of 69 Old 03-31-2019, 02:44 PM
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I watched an economists on the news and he said he was looking for gasoline prices at the pump to be $3.00 a gal. by May. Right now here it is $2.70 a gal. so he is probably right.

And also the Fed. EPA is taking public comments about the usage of E-15 right now. So increasing the ethanol from 10% to 15% per gal. of gas will make corn farms happy but most older cars on the road could have some problems with that hi of a mixture.

Plus here in Ohio the State legislature is trying to increase the gasoline tax. somewhere from .10 cents to .18 cents a gal.

I am concerned for the security of our great Nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within. Douglas MacArthur
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post #68 of 69 Old 04-02-2019, 01:10 PM
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Alabama gas tax going up by 10 cents a gallon.
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post #69 of 69 Old Today, 05:40 PM
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I agree! Here in North Texas, alfalfa is $26/ 3 string bale and the coastal is about right there too. I am about to visit a hay warehouse but I think it would on cut the price by a few dollars.
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