In 1984 New Zealand WENT COLD-TURKEY ON ALL FARM SUBSIDIES

new zealand

New Zealand is reputed to have the most open agricultural markets in the world after radical reforms started in 1984 by the Fourth Labour Government stopped all subsidies.

“In 1984 New Zealand’s Labor government took the dramatic step of ending all farm subsidies, which then consisted of 30 separate production payments and export incentives. This was a truly striking policy action, because New Zealand’s economy is roughly five times more dependent on farming than is the U.S. economy, measured by either output or employment. Subsidies in New Zealand accounted for more than 30 percent of the value of production before reform, somewhat higher than U.S. subsidies today. And New Zealand farming was marred by the same problems caused by U.S. subsidies, including overproduction, environmental degradation and inflated land prices.”

rank country overall change rank country overall change
1 Hong Kong 88.6 -1.0 4 Switzerland 81.0 +0.5
2 Singapore 87.8 -1.6 5 Australia 80.3 -1.1
3 New Zealand 81.6 -0.5  

New Zealand is in third place on the Wall  Street Journal’s Economic Freedom list. Since, Hong Kong and Singapore are city-states not agrarian power houses, the Kiwi’s are the top of the line. Oh, the United States? America is in 12th place and dropping.

As New Zealand is a large agricultural exporter, continued subsidies by other countries are a long-standing bone of contention, with New Zealand being a founding member of the 20-member Cairns Group fighting to improve market access for exported agricultural goods.

What happened after they cut the chord, nothing but good. 6% annual increase in productivity and agriculture as a percentage of GDP went from 14 to 21%. Notice Australia is number five on the WSJ chart and number two of OEDC countries regarding agricultural subsidies.

the-growth-of-western-australias-grain-industry-could-be-boosted-b_95_81435_0_14100598_1000-620x350The report shows Australia has a producer support estimate of 3 per cent, making it the second lowest in the OECD, and the third lowest in the report. The OECD average is 19 per cent and of the 47 countries in the report the average is 17 per cent.

Today, data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development show that farm subsidies in New Zealand represent just 1 percent of the value of farm production, which compares to 11 percent in the United States. That 11 percent is times the $900,000,000,000 US Ag-Market, the world’s largest.36 New Zealand’s main farm organization argues that the nation’s experience “thoroughly debunked the myth that the farming sector cannot prosper without government subsidies.”37 That myth needs to be debunked in the United States as well.

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Six Reasons to Repeal Farm Subsidies

1. Farm Subsidies Redistribute Wealth: the 90% poor farmer gets poorer while the 10% rich farmer gets richer.

2. Farm Subsidies Damage the Economy: In 2006 the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that all the studies they reviewed showed that both the U.S. and global economies would gain from the repeal of subsidies and trade barriers.  

recipients3. Farm Programs Are Prone to Scandal: Perhaps the biggest scandal is that congressional agriculture committees are loaded with members who are active farmers and farmland owners. Those members have a direct financial stake whenever Congress votes to increase subsidies, which is an obvious conflict of interest.

4. Farm Subsidies Damage U.S. Trade Relations: The World Trade Organization estimates that even a one-third drop in all tariffs around the world would boost global output by $686 billion, including $164 billion for the United States. Worse developing and under-developed countries cannot compete fairly with industrialized nations dump their corn, cotton, soy and wheat.

5. Farm Programs Damage the Environment: Farming, like any industry, can cause negative environmental effects, but it is misguided for federal policies to exacerbate those problems.

6. Agriculture Would Thrive without Subsidies: If farm subsidies were ended, and agriculture markets deregulated and open to entrepreneurs, farming would change just as it did in New Zealand.

policy-makers-quotes-2“What we have hear is a failure to communicate.” Bernie has called for a Political Revolution but he only got us to the gates. Hillary is the guardian of the gates. Think of Trump as a nonsensical talking Trojan horse who can crash the party of the elites. Bernie will be on the inside, Hillary will be on the outside doing what she does best, nothing. Bernie can be the kinder-gentler-wiser LBJ Senate leader humbly allowing Trump to take credit for the Revolution of 2016.

 

LET THE BUFFALO ROAM GOD DAMN IT!

buffaloLET’S get back to our grass roots before there is no longer grass or roots to get back to. When our wise ancestors reduced the indigenous buffalo from 30 million in 1800 to just 30, that’s three-zero, in 1900 they destroyed the Eco-system of American agriculture. Not one blessed thing has been done since then to restore, resurrect or rebuild our agrarian soil. Well, there was one thing, Ronnie Reagan did sign into law The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in 1985.

CRP is the largest private-lands conservation program in the United States. Thanks to voluntary participation by farmers and land owners, CRP has improved water quality, reduced soil erosion, and increased habitat for endangered and threatened species. For success stories, click here.

hunterFor many years, enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) was 30 million to 36 million acres, but Congress lowered that total in the 2014 farm bill to 24 million acres. 

“There is a lot of interest in this program that is untapped simply because we have a cap,” Vilsack said Wednesday in an interview.

Vilsack said at the time that farmers were dealing with significantly higher commodity prices, and lawmakers believed producers were more likely to keep land in production rather than remove it and put it in the CRP. The farm bill also was touted as a way to cut $23 billion in spending, and the reserve program was among those programs targeted to save money.

pheasant-by-streamDan Hansen, an Audubon County, IA. corn, soybean and livestock farmer, said he decided to stop growing crops on 45 acres of his lower-producing land and is considering enrolling an additional 80 acres — together the land would total about 20 percent of his acreage. The CRP is paying him nearly $300 an acre, a more stable return than how much he could have generated by farming with today’s volatile commodity prices.

Hansen also is saving money on labor and input costs he doesn’t have to pay to farm those lower-yielding acres.

Yield-per-acre is farming lingo for how much money can you make per acre of farm land.  Adam Smith called it the rent of the land, the individual farmer, the man on the spot, was best suited to get the most out of the land. Karl Marx, didn’t want to let the farmer do his own thing for fear he would rape the soil to produce as much as possible today and not worry about tomorrow.

The Rent: Today Illinois farm land goes for $425/acre the farmer produces 180 bushels on that acre and then sells it for $6 a bushel $6 x 180 = $1,080 less $542 for all that good fertilizer, pesticides, machinery, etc. he’s at $538 minus the $425 rent leaves him at the end of the harvest with $113 per acre profit. The minimum CRP payment is $150/acre or in Dan Hansen, the Audubon County, IA. corn, soybean and livestock farmer’s case $300/acre.

That $6.00/bushel was the 2013 price as of April 30, 2016 it’s down to $3.58 x 180 = $644.40 less $542 for all that good fertilizer, pesticides, machinery, etc. he’s at $102.40 then when the rent of $425 comes due he is –$322.60 in the hole. At this rate Dan Hansen, our Audubon County, IA. corn, soybean and livestock farmer would be wise to convert the remaining 80% of his land to CRP but alas alack there is that Cap on CRP acreage down from 36 million acres in 1985 to 24 million today.

ag subsidiesWhat is so absolutely idiotic, absurd and beyond any economic rationality is the $30 billion/year farm subsidy legislation. The FED’s pay corporate farmers – those who own more than 1,000 acres – to destroy the land with row crops, herbicides, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, patented seeds and any non-organic farming practice known to Monsanto. Corn’s draw-down of subsidy loot is a double dipper, first as corn and second as ethanol.

cornuse2011Corn doesn’t do man or animal any good. We feed corn to chickens, pigs and cows because they live in factories. We turn corn into fructose  to make people fat. We use more fossil fuel to produce a gallon of ethanol than it does to produce a gallon of fossil fuel. That 14% Corn export amount is achieved with the subsidies and trade agreements like NAFTA.

Can we live without subsidies?

“In 1984 New Zealand’s Labor government took the dramatic step of ending all farm subsidies, which then consisted of 30 separate production payments and export incentives. This was a truly striking policy action, because New Zealand’s economy is roughly five times more dependent on farming than is the U.S. economy, measured by either output or employment. Subsidies in New Zealand accounted for more than 30 percent of the value of production before reform, somewhat higher than U.S. subsidies today.

new zealandSince 1984, the value of farm output in New Zealand has soared 40 percent in constant dollar terms since the mid-1980s. Agriculture’s share of New Zealand’s economic output has risen slightly, from a pre-reform 14 percent to 17 percent today. Since subsidies were removed, productivity in the industry has averaged 6 percent growth annually, compared with just 1 percent before reform.

If New Zealand Can, We Can, and Should

Aren’t CRP payments subsidies? No they are infrastructure investments – a 100 years of industrialized agriculture has degraded our soil and water. Instead of bailing out the banks we are buying out the farmers from counter-productive use of the land. Pasture land covers the soil year round, grows with the rainfall, not irrigation and is maintained and fertilized by birds, bees and livestock. New Zealand offered their farmers an exit payment, only 1% chose to leave the land.

Return the prairies to the prairie and let the buffalo roam, God Damn It!

 

How To Make $150,000 Annually On A 1.5 Acre Farm

My across the aisle farmers’ market neighbor brought her vegies to the Saturday Houston Farmers’ Market from Wharton 10 miles past our farm on the Southwest freeway. Her answer to, “was it worth it? “Most Saturdays I make over a $1,000 and if I don’t make at least $500 a market I drop it.”

I asked my fellow LLU teacher Ms Permaculture, another vegie pusher, what was her favorite market success story? “The guy who made $250,000 on a half-acre vacant lot in San Francisco, selling specialty greens to restaurants.”

My adjacent vendor always showed up late, bitched at the market manager for not having a space under the car-park canopy, then proceeded to sell out of salad greens in an hour and a half.

Of course my personal success story that convinced me that the only way to make a buck, or several bucks, was Nina Planck’s book Real Food. Her family in Louden, Virginia grossed $375,000 by trucking organic vegies to 17 farmers’ markets a week in the Metro DC area. $375,000 divided by 17 = $500/market, as an architect that was one more data point than I needed to launch my ‘Roadkill Sausage’ career in a Houston parking lot.

Today’s hero Jean-Martin Fortier interned on a farm in New Mexico and when the Santa Fe arugula dealer took home one to two thousand dollars on Saturday afternoon, Fortier was hooked. If he had worked for a Clovis, NM. farmer it would have been a different story.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BH0NkN6zHs://URBANFARM-JM-CSThere are many ways to make money living off the grid, but organic farmer Jean-Martin Fortier may have found the best one – and it’s bringing in $150,000 each year.

Fortier and his wife take in that much annually on an acre and a half farm where they raise everything from tomatoes to broccoli, using what they call “biologically intensive” practices and unique farming methods to harvest more vegetables than is normal on such a small piece of land. And they do it all without a tractor.

Fortier is this week’s guest on Off The Grid Radio, and he gives us an overview of his Quebec farm – a farm that has drawn worldwide attention and resulted in him writing a book.

He also tells us:

  • How his method can be duplicated on any off-grid homestead.
  • Why he chose not to use a tractor or any heavy machinery.
  • How he grows vegetables, in such large quantities, in a cold climate.
  • What he learned on a trip to New Mexico that inspired him to try his methods.
  • Why he believes his method – and not Big Ag – is the secret to feeding the world.

Fortier’s story is incredible and inspiring, even if you don’t plan on copying his methods. Listen as this organic farm expert shares his methods that are changing how we think about farming!

 

MAKE A SIX FIGURE INCOME WITH 50 GOATS ON 5 ACRES

goats_1Yes, a Six-Figure Income Means You’re Affluent

Only 47% of working age Americans have full time jobs.

There are 250,000,000 work age (16-64) persons in the US of A but only 117 million have jobs. There were 761,700 Farm jobs in 2014 earning on average $20,090 per year or $9.66 per hour.

farmer income

The above chart indicates that there are somewhere around 2 million farmers (principal operators) whatever the number, none of them made any money or came close to a six figure income

The real question is whether $100,000 or $200,000 in annual income makes a person affluent. Households making $100,000 or more constituted the top 24.7 percent of American households in 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. To put it differently, they’re better off than three quarters of the country. Those making $200,000 or more were in the top 5.6% of households in 2014. The threshold income for membership in the infamous One Percent, according to the calculations of Thomas Piketty and Emanuel Saez, was $423,090 including capital gains and $387,810 excluding them in 2014.

But are these people affluent? Heck yeah! The median household income in the U.S. in 2014 was $53,657. If you’re making twice that, or more, you are doing quite well from the perspective of your fellow citizens in what happens to be one of the richest nations on earth. And yes, a tax break that chiefly benefits you and others like you is in fact a subsidy for the affluent. http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-06-03/yes-a-six-figure-income-means-you-re-affluent

The big, big question is how in the hell can you make a six figure income with 50 goals on 5 aces? Short answer move to the city.

xgoatwhisperer Mark SpitznagelMark Spitznagel (born March 5, 1971) is an American hedge fund manager, derivatives and commodities trader, author, and sustainable farmer. Spitznagel is known for his pioneering “tailhedging” and frequently bearish “Austrian”-based stock and commodities trading, his hugely profitable billion dollar derivatives bet on the stock market crash of 2008, and for having allegedly caused the stock market crash of 2010.

Spitznagel “gained credibility in the investment world by predicting two market routs in the past decade, first in 2000 and then in 2008,”[14] as well as predicting the “2000s commodities boom.”[5] He is considered “one of Wall Street’s most bearish”[15] as well as “biggest and boldest investors.”[16]

Mark Spitznagel built, owns, and operates Idyll Farms, a pasture-based goat farm and creamery that produces award-winning artisanal farmstead chèvre. (The word Idyll is “a song describing pastoral life,” as well as a reference to Siegfried Idyll.[1]) Idyll Farms cheeses received three awards at the World Championship Cheese Contest (including Best of Class) in 2016, multiple and repeat awards—which included the broad all milk cheese category—at the American Cheese Society North American Competition in 2013 and 2014 (the farm’s first two years of production),[85] as well as a “Best Artisanal Cheese” from Food & Wine magazine in 2016.[86]

In starting his farm in 2010, Spitznagel has said he wanted to “capture the terroir” of his native region,[87] as well as “feel engaged with something real, something tangible, and he wanted his kids to have that connection too.”[1] In discussing his life as both financier and farmer, Spitznagel has said “What’s going on in the financial world really shouldn’t matter that much. It’s the tail wagging the dog. What matters is making things, making real things, tangible things people can use.

detroithero spitznagelSpitznagel is a billionaire, a one per-center for sure, from Michigan who likes dairy goats and is my inspiration for moving to the city. Here he is pictured with his girls grazing on the inner city neighborhood of Broadmoor, Detroit. Money not being a problem, in 2010 Mark built this award winning dairy. outside of Ann Arbor.

IdyllFarmsView

Shelby Ann Brown and I built our 100 square meter dairy in Kendleton, Texas, 50 miles south west of Houston. We received our Grade ‘A’ Raw Dairy certificate in 2003 and only started to earn an income above the $20,090 average, when we took our raw goat’s milk products to Houston on Saturday mornings.

dawn parlorJLD_0005Our licence was for On-the Farm sales only but sunny weekend customers who made the 50-mile trek to our farm generated less than $200/week. Desperation was the mother of Earth Mother Farms and the visitation to eight farmers’ markets a week, averaging $500 per market.

original-united-dairy-farmersCarl Linder, in my home town, Cincinnati, got his start on the path to one percent riches with his United Dairy Farmers store. Since rural America has been depopulated, since Teddy Roosevelt banned the sale of raw milk in 1912, the only way to make a six figure income with 50 goats on 5 acres, is move the dairy to the city.