As big funds from developers and corporations flow into farmland, it is farmers who pay the price, being squeezed out of the market against the interests of big capital.
“I just couldn’t compete with the price people are paying, with people paying $10,000” per acre, Brookings County, SD, said farmer Joel Gindo The New York Times. “And for someone like me who doesn’t have an inheritance somewhere, a lump sum of money, everything has to be funded.”
That comes with the added tax of inflation and high interest rates under President Joe Biden.
South Dakota farmland has increased 18.7% over the past year, according to the Department of Agriculture. The nationwide inflation rate on farmland is 12.4%, according to the report.
“What we’ve seen over the last two years is that when housing starts to go up with new buildings going up, it puts pressure on farmland, especially on those urban fringes,” Jason said. Henderson at the Times. “And that’s leading to a cascading ripple effect on increasingly remote land values.”
Billionaire Bill Gates is the largest private owner of farmland in the United States, having recently purchased 2,100 acres in North Dakota for $13.5 million.
Tennessee agricultural consultant Nathaniel Bankhead denounced “digital feudalism” in the industry to The Times.
“Places that I have considered as potential farmland are being bought with cash before I can even go through the process that a working class person has to go through to access the land,” he told the log. “And the irony is that they’re my clients, like I’m hired by them to do as a hobby what I’m trying to do for a living. So it’s hard to watch.”
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