When things are investigated, knowledge is extended. When knowledge is extended, the will becomes sincere. When the will is sincere, the mind is correct. When the mind is correct, the self is cultivated. -- Confucius
Politically correct ideals are garbage: true wisdom comes from decades of deep thought and neutral observation. Only a so-called sociopath could ascertain wisdom from this crazy world in a neutral way. Cool thoughts- uncorrupted by modern politics, social norms, or societal ideals- are required for wisdom. Questioning everything, and going against the grain on all universally accepted norms is the path to true intelligence. The Gods notice this.

1/1/15

Farmers are Rich Whiners

Living in the Midwest and especially Iowa for so many years, I have grown weary of the mantric stereotype about the farmers: those poor, hard working folks who toil away to feed the world for a pittance...They are glorified, if not worshiped, in local television ads, radio, and newspaper pieces as the heroic low-paid laborers gluing our communities together! Everything in the Midwest is about the farmers- and anyone who does not kiss their asses is a complete fool with no political future, or friends either, to be sure. But let us examine a few details...Are they really hard working and poor, and what kind of people are they?

Hard working???
Modern technologies make farm work much easier than it once was. My dad, who grew up on a farm in Grant Township in Iowa, told me of stuff like plowing with oxen, cutting up trees with axes, and so on. Now, there are tractors with computers and GPS systems that can tell you exactly what percent of your field is planted as you go. All of the thinking is done for you as land is disced, fertilized, plowed, planted, and harvested. Once planting season is done, about a month of work, the farmer waits while it grows. Sure, he fiddles around in his barn shop, mends fences, and so forth- but little actual work is needed aside from driving. The plants grow themselves. I do not question that the average farmer can find plenty to do during growing season. Though if he were tired, laid up, or otherwise preoccupied, the crop would still be there growing unaided and ready to pick later on. Once it is grown, they get into this mad rush phase, picking all they can ASAP. They run their combines into the night. Then, whatever. I know one Missouri farmer who makes almost monthly trips to Las Vegas and gambles with the 'whales'.


Poor???
Farmers are always portrayed as being very poor, wearing ragged overalls and driving beat up old trucks. Which they do. I met one who had broken a shoestring and replaced it with twine. Just because someone is a miser it does not mean they are poor. Farmers make income off of their crops, sold per bushel. They also sell hay, pigs, cows, chickens, sheep and miscellaneous animals, and any other ventures they can use their lands for. They also receive farm subsidies, which means the government pays them to grow certain crops. So basically if wheat is worth less than corn, the feds even it out: they all make bank! Not to mention the reimbursement for crop insurance and disaster relief. Free insurance and getting paid for your crops if weather destroys them are nice touches the government provides. Plus there is the CRP program, which pays farmers to NOT farm. It is called conservation, and any acres set aside will be paid for by the feds as if they would have had crops on them. Why cash crops such as corn, wheat, milo, or beans are not good enough to hold the soil in place like grasses would, is not explained. One farmer I knew made grass paths between his fields to drive his tractors on, and was paid for this.

In the end, they sell their grains to co-ops which pay them by the pound and per purity and dryness. Most farmers end up with about 2 million dollars worth of harvested grains, which is gross pay. After paying for seeds, tractor maintenance, etc.- what do they really make?

To break it down a little: an acre is an area about the size of an American football field. Most farms have at the very least 100 acres, though the majority have about a thousand or up to 5,000 or even more. So when they grow and then harvest grains (remembering the feds subsidize so top dollar is obtained for lower priced crops such as wheat and milo), they get up to soybean or corn prices on it all. The goal is yield. They want more grain per acre. This then pays X amount total. Grain is measured in bushels, and sold by the pound. So if corn is at X amount per bushel, and you yield Y pounds per bushel and Z bushels per acre, multiplied by how many acres you have, you usually end up with a mill or two. For example: average value of soybeans is 10. a bushel, yielding 55 bushels per acre. That makes him 550. per acre, times the official average of about 450 acres. This grosses the farmer $247,500. for that season's crop. Of course there are expenses, but estimates generally run at half or so. This includes tractor payments and the like which many farmers paid off long ago and do not still have. Even so, halving the above would net him $123,750. - not bad for a couple months work. See this page's chart for better detail: Operator returns of Different Farmland Productivities. Current grain values here.

The miscellaneous money making activities are hard to estimate as they are so diverse. Livestock, though, has been documented well. With cows, there are heifers (unbred cows), bred heifers, steers, etc. (Read this piece for a dizzying array of cow types). In this article, a cow's value is explained well, though pasture rent is uncommon, as most farmers use their own land to keep their cattle on. So adding back that debit, the estimated value after expenses  becomes $3,597.23 per cow. How many cows does the average farm have? Forty. A farmer with a herd of 40 cows has $144,000. worth of income walking around his backyard. This is to say nothing of dairy operations, veal, bull sperm sales, and other animals such as chickens and sheep. As far as hay, as you can read here from posts by several farmers, it varies alot and is hard to figure. However it seems to go from about 500 to 1,500 per acre.

Do not forget that farms have the space and resources to do a lot of things town dwellers do not. They can keep one cow to butcher themselves and have free meat for the year. They also get almost unlimited space for large gardens, providing more free food. Many farm wives like to do home canning, saving extra for winter. Most farmers also have a pond, and a lot of fishing is done. Almost all farmers are redneck types that love to hunt, bringing home many deer and other game year round. Suffice it to say they have very small grocery bills. Most also have their own water supplies, septic tanks, and wood or pellet heat.

Other random income sources pop up as well. Seasonal crops such as pumpkins, gourds, and maize provide cash each fall, as well as corn mazes, petting zoos; other activities. Many find other projects to make even more money off-season, such as livestock, alternative crops, online bookstores, crafts, welding repair, etc.

Ever seen a wind farm, with the big turbines? The electric company that owns them has to pay royalties to the owner of the land they are on- generally $5,000. to $8,000. per year, per turbine. So if you have ten or twenty on your farm...


Lifestyles...
The vast majority of farmers are red neck types that embellish in hunting, fishing, trapping, mudding, and country music. This is why they do not care one iota that their actions are causing environmental harm and starving children around the world.

When farmers gesticulate that they 'feed the world!', they are just spewing their own hog-washed propaganda. The fact is, most farms grow field corn, which is large, tough, flavorless corn not fit for human consumption. It is all used to feed the cattle. Sweet corn is what humans eat, and not much of it is grown, comparatively. When land is used to feed cattle, instead of growing crops that people could have eaten, it is causing a deficit in potential world food supplies. But like the farcical ethanol industry and its lobbied laws to promote it and force its sales, it is all about profit to farmers. Ethanol can dissolve gaskets in older type vehicles, and causes lower mileage in all. As long as the farmers make even more profits, that's supposed to be okay...

Any who doubt their wealth need only take a drive in a rural area of the Midwest. Notice that every farm has at least one new house built upon it, or is having one built. Also note how nearly all have semis. Grain can be hauled to town to sell in a grain wagon or straight truck for grain, and is from time to time, but it is so much more convenient to use fancy semis with grain trailers. Farms without at least one semi are becoming rare. (Average cost of a used, bare bones semi tractor not including trailer: more than most of us make in a year).



To be fair, most farmers are known to be generally kind people. But their quest for profits, like a Star Trek Ferengi, overshadows all else. This 2% of the population owns and controls 51% of American land. No wonder they have so much political power.






(C) james platt 2015. may not be copied or reposted, in whole or part, even if link is included.

No comments:

Post a Comment

constructive comments appreciated. name calling and links deleted.