19 votes

The case for owning farmland in one simple statistic

December 20, 2013
Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile

In investing, it’s often said that nothing goes up or down in a straight line.

Stocks, bonds, commodities… they all go through periods of growth, correction, collapse, mania, etc.

We’re seeing this right now with respect to a substantial decline in the nominal gold price after more than 12 straight years of gains.

But I’ve just recently come across an investment trend that has posted the same results for more than 20-years straight. And it’s actually quite alarming.

Every human being on the planet requires sustenance… typically measured in Calories per day.

What’s interesting is that the global average of per-capita Calorie consumption has increased a whopping 24.6% since 1964.

So over the last fifty years, the data clearly show that human beings are eating more… now to an average of roughly 2,940 Calories per person per day.

As you can probably guess, most of the rise has taken place in East Asia just over the last two decades, owing to the increased wealth in that part of the world.

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I'm PMing you, waving my arms, what's it gonna take?

I wanna talk serious, it's happening.

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That picture is puurty

...I guess its from Chile as well?

"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." -- James Madison

Chile, then, is it?

At first glance I thought the photographer might be standing on the Kohala heights looking Hawi down the Kona coast. Whether it's Chile or The Big Eye Land, it makes me homesick for da aina.

Muchas Majalos, brah!

dynamite anthrax supreme court white house tea party jihad
West of 89
a novel of another america

Eh, braddah, howzit!

It does look like Kohala.... I think it's Chile though.
I lived in Kona small kine.
Still mostly Haole though. ;)

My brah lived there and Kauai for years though.
He just went back a couple weeks ago....just posted a vid at "The End of the World."

Shaka \ooo/

"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." -- James Madison


I wen live on da Big Islan' fo' ten year. Was pono! I wen leave to follow my wahine to Arctic Was'elan' in Buckeye State. She follow da money, I follow da honey! Popoki (kanaka maole) nevah fo'give. She think I one pupule haole fo' livin' in cold weathah. She got no aloha fo' snow!

dynamite anthrax supreme court white house tea party jihad
West of 89
a novel of another america

More land is being made

People drain swamp lands, create terraces out of hill and mountain sides, clear cut forests, fill areas that make islands like Manhattan, find underground aquafirs, divert rivers, creeks, streams, dig wells, suppliment soils to bloom deserts..

If not for finding the underground aguafir of CA central valley and the tractor, CA would never had become a "food basket".

What was once not usable land becomes farm land, and what was once farm land become cities.. I remember when Orange County had oranges. I remember when Bell, Downey, Fullerton, Lakewood were farms. I remmeber when CA had slaughter houses and open dairies, I think Alta Dena may be one of the few remaining in CA.

Some people have no vision, unlike, for example, in Ayn Rand's book, "The Fountainhead", Howard Rourk was a man who had vision.. the book opens with his surveying land with a dream.

The propety I'm on now.. It took me three years to take down and out trees and stumps hit by sudden oak death (which is not exclusive to oaks).. and since I wanted everything organic, removal of weeds and brush was done by hand (and and occasional tractor), not by chemicals.. also I pasture my chickens and I didn't want to take any chances of them eating poision.. and I respect the native habitat, which I took great concern to make 1/4 of the property a natural and thriving habitat for them, I planted local trees.. berries, mushrooms (you can purchase plugs to put in tree stumps), left the old growth redwood stumps for birds and squirrels to nest.. established a safe area for frogs and salamanders.. and I protect them with natural hedges and berms, grasses.

There is a beautiful red tail hawk.. gosh is he huge.. he/she (I don't know, I think the hawk is a he because he is so beautiful and in nature the males seems to be bigger and flashier).. he got two of my hens last week or so.. a neighbor suggested I take him out. I'm not going to take him out. I am restructoring my coop and the flock is not being let out to pasture.. they don't sqwak.. they know there's a big hungry hawk around.. so to me..

Someone else might have gotten this property and as the past two owners, do nothing (grow marijuana, and I have an issue with growers and their trashing land).. but watch trees die and brambles cover the remants of what they didn't clean.. but I had a dream decades ago.. (I took survival training back in the 80s)

This year, I've got 40 bales for my straw bale square foot garden the whole thing winds up being compost, returns to the land enriching it.. I made my own soil (thanks chickens and fish - the fish are from my failed aquaponic experiment, what a waste of money and energy that was for me.. KUDOS to those who are successful.. I think it's great when done professionally.. but I'm not going into business.. I'm living simply so the life around me can simply live a healthy happy life.

So.. to me, I understand what you are saying about "there is only so much land".. I hope you can see my point, that land can be made, and lends itself beautifully.. it responds to love and energy. It's alive and growing!

You mentioned an aquaponic system

That it was a waste of money and that it failed, what happened?

What happened

I got a 150 gal rubbermaid stock tank
a 50 gal "peppercini" shipping barrel (ships olives etc)
had a "fountain" made out of pvc that spans the length of the tank
a pump that moves 950 gph
and had it plumbed and wired (pump/ timer)
water testing kit for ph levels
fish food, because fish need to eat.

A floating grid hold the plants.. right now the best I can do is watercress, I don't have any filters, so the tank water has to be changed by hand (pull/push levers), which I change it frequently into my compost pile, that is the chickenes favorite playground, plenty of worms..

What I plan to do now, is divert the water to the straw bale.. but that's not aguaponics.. it's an expensive failed experiment.. I would need more land/space available have a different kind of a tank.. and then invest in solar or wind to work the pump.

I did it about 5 years ago under the influence of DP. The tech on aguaponics is better today than 5-6 years ago.. but it was an investment, a lot of work.. still is a lot of work.. I like to make things so they are not alot of work and that was my interest in aquaponics is self sustainable.. but I don't really like perch.. so I now have a couple of koi and some really big goldfish I have no plans on eating.. I didn't do this because I fear an economic collapse. I do it because it all seemed to make sense to me.. just didn't work out the way I had hoped.

Aquaponic system cheapish

Mines working, I have an old stock tank and a friend that welds made me too boxes I filled mostly with pea gravel. Drilled a hole in each box to put a pvc drain pipe into and ran the pump up into a T into both beds ran the pipe around the beds have odd sizes not glued to change as the water needs of what I have planted changes. I grow Tilapia with a couple of 300 watt fish tank heaters and surrounded my tank with Styrofoam from a new frig. I have strawberries in ABS towers with holes drilled on the sides and grow peppers, lettuce, basil, egg plant, tomatoes, cuckes stuff hanging over. Did better and produced faster than my in the ground garden early on, but not as well in the mid summer heat. By then my other stuff is going nuts so I don't care. I can pull tomatoes and such out of there early and late, keep greens growing year round. I am a garden addict, it is pretty bad. I have a 55 gal aquarium in my office with a male and 5 females for breeders and a 10 gal in the laundry room for babies until I slaughter the ones in the trough to replace them with. It has not been cost effective really like most of my garden and orchard etc. yet. I grow a lot of everything. Back when Revolution Broadcasting was still going I did a show on extending gardening season and medical herb plants and medicines. I really miss having a radio show

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want because you think it would be good for him. – Robert Heinlein


Kudos to you!!!

I hope you get a radio show back.

Kudos on your aquaponic success!!! As I said, I tried, and now I'm just going to divert the tank water to the straw bales.

I really hope you get a radio show back.. seems you would be doing many people a big favor.. so I wish you much luck with that.. you don't ned any good luck wishes with auqaponics.. you got me beat by a very long shot. :D

I have a small garden system that turned out really well

basically by accident. We dug a koi pond a few years back within just a few feet from the raised bed garden so we could pump some of the pond water into the garden, like an aquaponic system, but it does not recirculate. In addition to the Koi we had frogs and toads volunteer, so each spring we get pollywogs. The gardens are just the square foot raised bed type with a compost mix, four 4' x 8's, the pond is about 120 sq. We mounted a single elevated rain bird sprinkler to cover the entire garden and if it's turned down we can refill just the pond as needed. As soon as the sprinkler comes on in the evenings the frogs head for the gardens, it's comical. I have not had any insects at all, none, zip, the frogs eat them. The garden is productive way beyond my expectations and it takes very little maintenance, I just add fresh compost mix each year, plant it and pinch a few early season weeds.

Its not a true aquaponic system because the water does not recirculate directly back to the pond, it's a hard clay soil so it does hold the moisture well.


Have you seen straw bale garden?

Last year, I bought a camera, because I wanted to take pictures to share. I bought some fuji BS.. came with a CD listened, went step by step.. gave me some program that's too fandangled for me.. I am not a computer person.. I admire tech, but I've got to be the dumbest person when it comes to tech on the face on the earth because I admit.. I am technically an idiot. I can't take a proper picture, can't download it... I have to have help .. so the camera sits here.. every now and then something will happen and I'll try like a son of a gun to get a picture... deep sigh.. because I would love to show you some pictures..

If you have not seen a straw bale garden.. here's a look at someone else's who can take pictures and upload..


I have heard of growing tomato plants in straw bales

This is the first I have seen an entire garden system using them. I see why it works so well, the straw gives plenty of aeration and root support, the fertilizer not only feeds the plants but activates the decomposition bacteria and being elevated discourages weeds and ground insects, also makes it easy to tend. Great idea, I will try that this spring.

I experimented with an unique(lazy?)way to plant sweet corn last summer. I tarp killed a 10' x 8' section of grass next to my sq ft gardens, being heavy clay I did not want to rototiller or shovel it, that's hard work, plus it brings up weeds. I used an auger that fits into my cordless 18v drill, its about 16" long and drills a 2" hole, Ace hardware has them ($12). It was easy to drill out 80+ holes, my grandsons and I filled each hole with compost, a little fertilizer and planted a corn seed in each hole. I did not expect it to do very well, I guess because it was just too easy, but all the plants grew well and I had 2-3 nice ears on each corn stalk.

I mentioned augering the entire front lawn, but wife says no, plus given current political climate I would probably get the city after me.


That tarp and auger idea is a good one.. I love ideas that take root and work out better than expected.

The comment about your wife saying no.. I am still laughing.. I can imagine your neighbors wondering.. "What is our crazy neioghbor doing.. but then, you might start a fad.

Congratulations on the corn.. sounds you had a perfect crop and how wonderful that you would share a garden experience with your grandchildren.. you gave them a gift they will never forget. It touches my heart.

And yeah, the straw bale garden .. I didn't want to do raised beds because I don't want to build.. I don't have clay.. actually the soil is very good.. history says that this area was logged for old growth redwoods a hundred years ago and then was made to a dairy farm for decades.. maybe I got a portion where the cows hung out? still, I really like that idea of tarping.. though I have what was my burn pile.. and You've got me thinking.. it would be fun to get out the drill and auger and drill holes.

rototiller.. maybe they should rename those to upper-arm killers?

Augering the whole front lawn.. LOL still laughing..

Now you have me laughing, never thought of the neighbors

I am so tempted now. Thinking of doing a youtube with my 5 grandsons all under 10 with their plastic pails and little shovels filling holes as I drill out plugs with a cordless drill, in the front yard. Yea, they would think i'm crazy, as if the giant Justin Amash sign and half dozen Ron Paul signs did not already give them a clue. LOL
Thanks for the laugh,

The grand kids are over here alot and always go right to the garden and the pond. They love to pick green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, plus they really like trying to catch the frogs, watching the fish and the turtle. We have some pics, I will see if I can get some tech help from my sons and send a few later.

Two green thumbs up

Thank you for the big heart felt smiles. Love it.. and good luck on that front lawn.. LOL Would LOVE to see that YT.

There will always be more

There will always be more people but there will never be more land.


As other have pointed out -

They aren't making any more land.

Although in some areas previously uncultivated land has been
brought into production (as in Brazil) this has to be balanced against
countries like China and the US having given over major portions of their
best farmland to development.

There are also globally significant areas such as the North China Plain which could
see production collapse in the future due to lack of water and/or other factors such
as soil depletion. There could well be declines in places such as the Murray-Darling
in Australia and the Indian/Pakistani Punjab region.

And the global population continues to increase by over 200,000 people
every *day*...

Even I can pretty much do that math.

Off-grid land in Arizona only $110 down! Acres for just $6k

Heck, buy and put it on your credit card to make payments!


Yes, please BUY this wonderful libertarian BOOK! We all must know the History of Freedom! Buy it today!

"The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism" ...by author George Smith --
Buy it Here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/05211820

$6k and acre?

For raw farm/ranch land? Ouch!

Our land (mostly fenced pastures, an excellent garden area, year round creek, and some forest land) in the Arkansas Ozarks was around $1.5k/acre.

You can find land in many places still for $1-2k/acre if you shop around.

I'd recommend checking out Idaho too. We drove through Idaho last year looking for places to move to. Ultimately it came down to us needing to keep my job for a while longer, so we bought in Arkansas instead. Very happy with our choice... although having some land in north Idaho or maybe Montana is still something we want to do eventually.

Of course if you need warm weather I can see where Arizona would be better in that regard.

Our family's journey from the Rocket City to the Redoubt: www.suburbiatosimplicity.com

Buy land. They ain't making any more of it." - Will Rogers

Will Rogers Western (1950) comic book

Disclaimer: Mark Twain (1835-1910-To be continued) is unlicensed. His river pilot's license went delinquent in 1862. Caution advised. Daily Paul

I bought farm land almost 25 years ago

It was by far the best investment I could have made. I did it on the advice of a local city building inspector, that investment advice is still good today. I don't know how many noticed it, but residential and commercial real estate has dropped in price but arable farm land is going up to record levels, plus it can be sold quick with a couple of phone calls.

i would like to see the data that shows this

it says "According to World Bank data, the global average of arable land per person has been on a one-way decline since 1992."

I wonder how they are measuring this.

The next question is how

Buying a farm and farming the land yourself is obviously one way to do it, but not everyone has that option. Buying farmland and leasing it to a farmer is another option with a different set of issues.

The only farmland REIT I know of is a relatively new one:
There weren't any the last time I looked, and I haven't looked into this one at all. REITs are different from ordinary stocks in some important ways.

Farmland LP http://www.farmlandlp.com/ invests in farmland and converts it to organic farming if it isn't already. I called them a while back and I don't remember what the minimum investment was but it was a pretty big number.

The AgCapita newsletters are worth reading even if you're not investing there, which most people here wont' be able to do because it's only open to Canadians. http://www.farmlandinvestmentpartnership.com/

If anyone knows of any other farmland investment ideas I'd be very interested in hearing about them.

Family Farming With Multiple Husbandry

Industrial Agriculture resembles mining or factory production. To my view farming is about relationships - to the land, and to those engaged with it.

"THE WORD “HUSBANDRY” IS THE NAME of a connection...
Most and perhaps all of industrial agriculture’s manifest failures appear to be the result of an attempt to make the land produce without husbandry."

'Renewing Husbandry',
-by Wendell Berry


I don't see anyone here at DP being ultimately interested in a commoditized REIT type investment which would only fit a factory farm operation. Even passive investment in a real farm, I believe, should be hands on and distinct from the papered over exchanges that involve such produce as packaged and delivered to a Wall'ed Street sort of market.

The stock of a real and natural farm is live-; and the trade, I expect, ought be hand to hand.

I have an offshore farm that I've worked for more than 15 years that has room for stable, dependable husbandry of others. I'm not the jealous sort, but whether the commitment is sweat or capital, the relationship calls for connection. Only principals (and principled) need respond. Email me if you are looking for a serious relationship with a farm. We talk.

"When it is understood that one loses joy and happiness in the attempt to possess them, the essence of natural farming will be realized. The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings."

-- Masanobu Fukuoka

Masanobu Fukuoka

I'd never read anything about Masanobu Fukuoka and his ideas about natural farming before. That's some fascinating stuff! Thanks.

I agree that investing in farmland through a REIT is less than ideal even if it might be an investment with a good rate of return. The Farmland LP thing is a step better because it's organic farming, but organic farming is still often factory farming. Whoever writes the AgCapita newsletters is writing from a very libertarian philosophy, but I don't know how factory-ish the farms they own are. The ideal as you say is an investment that is local and hands-on in some fashion, but that's easier said than done for a lot of people.

Zen And The Art Of Farming

"[ Fukuoka's ] The One-Straw Revolution is one of the founding documents of the alternative food movement, and indispensable to anyone hoping to understand the future of food and agriculture."
— Michael Pollan


"Ever since I began proposing a way of farming in step with nature, I have sought to demonstrate the validity of five major principles: no tillage, no fertilizer, no pesticides, no weeding and no pruning. During the many years that have elapsed since, I have never once doubted the possibilities of a natural way of farming that renounces all human knowledge and intervention. To the scientist convinced that nature can be understood and used through human intellect and action, natural farming is a special case and has no universality. Yet the basic principles apply everywhere."
-- Masanobu Fukuoka

Farming is not for a lot of people: