Sad report from Iowa, Demise of family farm

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by dave85, Sep 19, 2006.

  1. dave85

    dave85 dave85

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    Just got back from a long weekend in Audubon/Shelby counties.
    here's what's happening.
    This is all commercial farming, corn/soybeans, few small herds of stock cows. some pigs in total confinement houses.

    Big farmers/ investors are buying these farms up.
    Then they take the house, barns and 4-5 acres and sell them off seperately.
    marketed as "small acreages".

    So what we have is city folk who want to commute or a weekend place and big farmers taking out the trees, fencerows in order to run continuous rows.

    Point is, it is another separation of the family farm as I see it.

    And I admit, I will probably take advantage of this and move onto one of those. Just am reluctant as there doesn't appear to be any homesteading philosophies in that area.

    But, still sad to me.
    Sorry, just kind of bummed.
    Dave
     
  2. bob clark

    bob clark A man's man

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    you shoulda looked into Appanoose county. there are lots of nice small farms with plenty of homesteading going on
     

  3. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Kinda happened in the early 1980s, so a done deal by now.

    I do understand your bummed feelings. I share most of them.

    --->Paul
     
  4. gypsymama

    gypsymama Well-Known Member

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    That's been happening a lot in our area.

    We've chosen to stay put at this time so I look at it this way. Those newcomers who have 4 -5 acres will al least be able to feed themselves if they need to. And if they don't know how to do it, I can be available to help.
     
  5. nodak3

    nodak3 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't. A family farm is a business, plain and simple. If you can make a living at it, well and good. If not, well, you need another business or a job. I really don't see a lot of heartache over the demise of the family shoe store or blacksmith shop. Not a lot of guys still make cars by hand at home and sell them.
     
  6. arabian knight

    arabian knight Miniature Horse lover Supporter

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    And don't Forget Northern MO. on the IOWA Boarder is being bought up by the Amish. They are buying HUGE Farms and them sub diving it into many houses for there group. Many many Amish are moving into that area and driving up land prices also................ I am looking into one small place with a house a old barn Right Smack Dab in the middle of an Amish "community' Because the owner Refused to sell it to "them" I guess. But it sits empty, jut haven't been able to talk to the owner yet to see it That Really was the reason for not selling and see if I can buy it.
     
  7. kenuchelover

    kenuchelover Well-Known Member

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    Blame the farmers who sold out as well, not just the big farmers/investors who bought up farmland TO FARM and sold off buildings they didn't need. I don't LIKE the agribusinesses, but they couldn't do what they're doing if it wasn't for folk who voluntarily SELL the family farm. (Economic trouble is no excuse.... they could live off a town wage job & get the price of the taxes out of rentals or hunting leases or housing benefits.... the problem is when stubborn fools keep running up debt, either by keeping to "tried and failed" farming practices or by falling for the "bigger is better" lies that equipment dealers & bankers were happy to tell them. And I've NO sympathy for spendthrift farmers.... I've one set of cousins who were all GIVEN brand new pickups on their 18th birthday, despite family debt loads! No kids who want to stay on the farm is no excuse..... how come their kids weren't RAISED to stay farmers? No kids at all is no excuse..... haven't they ever heard of nephews & nieces, or cousins? Or adoption? Fostering? Both are OLD farm country traditions! Haven't they ever heard of neighbors who'd rent it from them & "eventually" buy it to cherish it the way that they did? Neh, the real culprit is greed and shortsightedness.... families who look on their land as capital rather than a sacred obligation, who would rather sell out for fast cash towards a more comfortable retirement, heirs who would rather force it ALL sold off rather than let family ties make them keep it in the family. )

    I've SEEN families who kept land for several generations WITHOUT "actively" using it.... joint heirs used it for camping & hunting, or rented it out but took the kids there to visit the "family land". I've also seen families that DIDN'T give their own kin the chance to buy it.... where the farm was sold because one greedy (or aliented, or resentful) child in the bunch wanted cash instead of keeping land in the family, or where parents left it jointly to all the kids "to be fair" without any thought of ensuring that it would STAY intact & in the family (like writing up a will that says ALL heirs must agree in order for it to be sold.... where one greedy heir can't try to force a sale without being having their share revert to the others. Or like putting it in a trust, that allows rental.... but NOT sale, especially not outside the family... and that clearly spells out specific usage rights like camping, hunting, building a house, farming, etc).

    Besides..... :flame: think of it this way. If TSHTF, you're gonna have each of these "piddling acreage" folks sitting in the middle of a quarter section or more of land that in the event of any significant societal disruptions, ecocomic meltdowns, & catastrophic events will NOT be farmed by the big farmers/investors who currently own them.

    This means that they'd be available for under the table use (hunting, wildcrafting, gleaning, grazing, timber cutting, security via isolation or visibility distance, dryland farming, etc) by the desperate folk who bought the houses. And in many states, if people USE the land for X number of years without protest by the "on paper" owners, title transfers to the squatters. So there is at least the possibility that the folk who bought merely 5 acres could eventually end up owning 160+ acres for free.

    Go ahead and buy one of these lots if the price is good.... it's not like you'll have neighbors right next door to hassle you (it'll be at the rate of one set of neighbors per original entire farm, probably about four families per square mile, neh? LESS when you allow for lots where the old farmstead had burned or was too run down to sell off to city folk). And you might even end up educating THEM re homesteading (have open houses & show off your lifestyle, dig up old issues of "hobby farm" magazine & the like to let them read, arrange for their kids to join 4H programs or to raise exotic poultry as a hobby or for spare cash, tell them how much money can be saved by gardening or having a feeder calf, etc). Just be sure to look up the legal statues regarding squatter's rights, in case TS DOES HTF..... and be prepared.
     
  8. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    Dang so now being a family farmer is not only a prison sentence, but a generational one???? Farmers sell out for lots of reasons and it is their right to do so.

    Jena
     
  9. CountryMamaof5

    CountryMamaof5 Well-Known Member

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    kenu

    Not necessarily. The land around me was a former family farm. My property was sold off about 20 years ago as well as two other little pieces but the farmer still had 90 acres. He got into a bind and sold 80K of the acres, including barn for 80K. It surrounded both my property and the other two on three sides. (none of our properties touch one another) And what happened? The rich man who bought the land at a steal, decided to divide it up and make it into a subdivision. I would love it if we only would gain one neighbor by the deal but so far there is , 10 lots with 1-1.5 acre lots. The rest of it current is rented by farmers to plant fields but once these lots sell then they will be dividing and making the other section into another subdivision. I have seen the surveys. It shows where they will be putting in two more little roads. Selling out the acreage can bring in little subdivisions which in my experience is a sad way to see farm land used.
     
  10. Barb

    Barb Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Jena - that was a nicer response than the one I had in mind :rolleyes:
     
  11. bachelorb

    bachelorb Well-Known Member

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    Oooppps blame me. I'm not selling out... Just moving. Seems in the last 15 years, this place is becoming some sort of retirement resort community. I plan to put mu last 10 acres for sale here and buy another 50acres in the next county over for the same price.

    Sometimes selling is just good business (and farming) sense!!
     
  12. kenuchelover

    kenuchelover Well-Known Member

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    Yup.... fact is, I won't even disagree with you for your opinion, as there is some truth to it. Except to say that it's when people VIEW IT as a prison sentance & make a jailbreak...... instead of considering it all too rare opportunity & sacred obligation handed down by their ancestors (and when they "sell out" for ANY reason..... rather than "hold on" to their dying breath & beyond)..... that we lose family farms.

    And right now, we don't have enough to lose. Families who plan to STAY on the land for generations generally do their best to keep up the land in decent shape...... while "investors" or "agri-miners" don't usually care what is done to the land so long as they get their money out of it or if the bad happens AFTER they sell.

    So personally, I consider anybody who sells off a family farm the moral equivalent of a soldier "selling" his position on the battlefield to the enemy.

    :shrug: But then, I'm Indian..... and one of the few ways I can get myself to accept what happened (stolen lands, genocide, treaties broken before the ink was even dry, etc) is to balance it with those non-Native folk who DO love & cherish land as something other than a saleable asset. When folk don't treasure their land for non-material reasons, I find it harder to accept their "right" to own it in the first place.

    No offense intended, btw.
     
  13. kenuchelover

    kenuchelover Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the government & corporate influence thereon is a major contributor.

    And the real horror is how many governments (city, county, state) are increasingly confiscating property by eminent domain.... only to turn around & sell it to the highest bidder for development. Seems like they've decided that if the government isn't making enough off you, they have the right to steal what you've got (and it is stealing, since THEY pick the price they pay you, you can't turn them down, and THEY get to keep the profit they make by reselling it, plus all the increased tax/fee revenues they stand to make off the deal).

    There was one bad incident in California recently, where several thousand acres (6-9,000 acres?) were confiscated by a city..... robbing the owners AND financially ruining several large farming operations that had been using it for many decades on a rental basis, not to mention eliminating the food raised on the land. All so the city could SELL OFF (at tidy profit) the irrigation allotment attached to the land..... without such water rights, the land was worthless, & the city wasn't even sure they could convert the resultant barren acreage to any productive use. The land WAS ALREADY being used productively, and adding to the local economy plus providing homes for many farming families..... but the city saw the chance to cut farmers' throats for a quick buck.
     
  14. kenuchelover

    kenuchelover Well-Known Member

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    Yes, that is one of the most insidious aspects of selling off family farms.... the land tends to be broken up into increasingly smaller parcels over time, making it well nigh impossible to convert back to farmland even if anybody was so inclined.

    And between urban sprawl & post-Conquest erosion (this last being a whole 'nother can of worms), we've already lost most of our best farmland. MOST towns & cities were built right on top of the best farmland.... i.e., where everything accreted around the farms that made the most money.

    I've a friend in Topeka whom I admire greatly.... for buying the adjacent lot when it came on the market, and TEARING DOWN the house on it, just for the sake of expanding his garden plot. You see, his part of the city was built on the rich bottomland of the Kansas Rriver.... thick black loam better than 20' thick! And they've covered it up with asphalt, cement, houses, and tensy tiny grass lawns! The entire Los Angeles basin used to be some of the best farmland in the country!
     
  15. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Kenuche and Nodak,
    You are both thinking as you do because you are CORPORATE through and
    through! As Ralph Nader use to say, we grow up in Pampers, eat at McDonalds, and work at WalMart...the media controls our brains and it is
    all concentrated in the hands of a few...CORPORATIONS!!
    The sad fact is that we no longer have a DEMOCRACY because of the money-hungry demons, and you both want to do what we like to do in this country
    and blame the little guy ;-(
    And you think having the ENTIRE FOOD SUPPLY in the hands of a few megacorporations is a good thing? I don't think so. Remember the lessons
    of Nazi Germany, one of the hallmarks of a totalitarian government [I think a
    case can be made that we have a soft form right now] is the conjoining of
    government and business (witness the many corporations that it has come to
    light that were using slave labor in Germany at the time).
    I think you two need to rethink these positions.
    james
    ps
    I ran across a prescient notion that was stated by Abraham Lincoln back in
    1864 in a letter to a friend:
    "I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me
    to tremble at the safety of my country. As a result of the war [Civil War]
    corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolonge its reign ...until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."
     
  16. ebook

    ebook Crooked Gap Farm

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    Bob, are you in Appanoose County? I live in Marion County, but my dad lives down in Appanoose near Numa. There is a decent amount of Amish that have moved in around him. The Amish along with the hunters have driven up the land prices in his township. I was hoping to buy near him, but the prices have tripled at least since he bought his place over 10 years ago.
     
  17. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    which means CHEAP LAND PRICES!! :flame:
     
  18. arabian knight

    arabian knight Miniature Horse lover Supporter

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    The Amish are buying all sorts of farm land and driving all sorts of farm land up in price, they have lots of money they can spend, and not afraid to do so.
     
  19. kenuchelover

    kenuchelover Well-Known Member

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    pcwerk, you need to reread what I said. I'm against the corporations.... there is far too little accountability with them. At most, even in cases of big enough malfeasance that evidence somehow ISN'T "accidentally" shredded, the corporation pays fines (smaller than the damage it caused) and/or has insurance to cover any liability. Maybe a few top ranking officers who held on too long might get minor jail time (but remain rich off their prior salaries & future retirement packages). And all too often, instead, the corporation pays off legislators to arrange immunity or even a taxpayer's buyout "for the good of the ecomony and especially the citizens who'll lose money if the corporation folds." Or the corporation breaks up & neither the stockowners nor the scattered employees are held accountable. Meanwhile, the victimized.... and the taxpayers, are out of luck.

    Nonsense! I put MUCH of the blame blame on the the "money-hungry demons"..... at most, it's that I'm just not willing to absolve those "little guys" who cooperate by selling their souls to the aforementioned demons.

    Uh, you're really confused here. I'm arguing to SAVE the family farm, and KEEP the "entire food supply" OUT of the hands of the megacorporations.

    No.... you need to reread my position. If anything, I'm arguing the opposite of what you mistakenly feel I am doing.

    Yup. The military-industrial complex got started then.... and the robber barons. And the rate at which the govt stole land from one group of people (in this case, Indians & White southern farmers) ratcheted WAY up. The Civil War... and the fact that the North won it, did more for corporatate greed (just look at the railroads!) and big government than anything else up to the New Deal.
     
  20. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    But what if the South did win the war, if they had, the south would become a thrid world country....? (or would the industries of the north move to the south for the cheap labor? :p