Re: Farming

Where will it all end?  Maybe where some parts of the Delta are.  In NE
Arkansas just South of the Missouri border one guy owns 50,000 acres,
farms none of it, but requires all who rent his land to grow cotton and
sell it to his gin.  He also owns the equipment and farm supply
businesses in town.  He's buying another 2000 or so acres a year.  Nearly
all of that land is treated with Temik due to increases in nematodes
brought on by monocropping cotton.  Farmers in the area know a rotation
to corn would solve the problem, but they can't do it.

Anyone on this list know anything about the Land Tenure Center at U. Wisc
and if their listserv is still going?

Jim Worstell, Delta Land and Community
920 Hwy 153, Almyra, AR 72003
501-673-6346; fax: 501-673-7219

On Fri, 21 Mar 1997 23:26:07 -0500 (EST) sbonney@iquest.net (steve
bonney) writes:
>        Yesterday, our newspaper featured a front page article 
>entitled "FOR 
>RENT: FARMLAND," indicating that for the first time in history, more 
>farmland is being rented (52%) than is farmed by its owners. In 
>62% of farmed land is rented. And those figures are based on 1992 
>        One farmer whose family farm dates back to 1847 said that he 
>his 518 acre farm to another farmer because he (the owner) could not 
>the efficiency of his new tenant. "His cost of production is far below 
>mine," he said. The tenant farmer owns 4000 acres and rents 5000 more.
>        An interesting comparison was made by the spokesman for the 
>management company who was interviewed. He said (in response to the 
>that some farmers rent 100% of their farmed ground), "I don't see that 
>as a 
>negative; Walmart tends to rent or lease most of their buildings." 
>       The article goes on to say that as late as the 1960's, 240 acre 
>family farms were common. Professional farm management companies now 
>1,200 acres is needed. Good farmland costs $3000/acre to purchase. One 
>Illinois farmer farms upwards of 40,000 acres (the figures vary in 
>accounts) in Illinois and Indiana and is paying cash rents above 
>$200/acre/year in several areas.
>        Where will this end? How much stewardship of land resources 
>exist in this bottom-line driven mode? Mining soil health and 
>exporting soil 
>do not add up to cheap food. The full cost of production will be borne 
>future generations. Yet, what farmer will risk cutting inputs, and 
>for lower yields, in this high stakes race?
>        One can now understand why we are so frantic to develop 
>systems that sustain families on reasonably sized farms (arbitrarily, 
>40 to 
>500 acres). Although census figures show 63,000 Indiana farms, there 
>only about 10,000 full time farmers in the state.   
>        Maybe Gene Logsdon has it right -- this train is eventually 
>going to 
>derail and we'll regroup as family farms. I still believe that our 
>to build local and regional food systems will provide the 
>infrastructure for 
>future agriculture. (Who cares what is local?; it is only as big as it 
>to be for any given area.)
>Steve Bonney, President
>Indiana Sustainable Agriculture Association
>100 Georgton Ct.
>W. Lafayette IN 47906
>(317) 463-9366, fax (317) 497-0164
>email sbonney@iquest.net