What is in this article?:
- Farm land prices: A correction maybe, not a bursting bubble
- Government monetary policy unsustainable
- Bank set records in 2012
“Some people feel farm land prices are too high right now; others say prices will keep steadily going up, but at a slower rate than the past few years," Abbott Myers, chairman of Mississippi Land Bank, said at the organization's annual meeting. While some analysts are warning of a sharp retreat in land prices, he says, “I don’t foresee another farm land bubble like the one that occurred in the 1980s, when there was a total collapse in values.”
ABBOTT MYERS, left, Mississippi Land Bank chairman and Dundee, Miss. producer, and Craig Shideler, right, the organization’s executive vice president, welcomed 91-year old David Harold Prichard, Booneville, Miss. Prichard served on the organization’s board for many years and was recently honored by the national Future Farmers of America organization as the organization’s oldest living national officer and for his contributions to the FFA Foundation. He served as national FFA president in 1940.
Government monetary policy unsustainable
The government “has been printing money like crazy,” Myers says. “The U.S. has $6 trillion debt. Expenditures this year are projected at $3.6 trillion, while income from taxes will be $2.5 trillion. It doesn’t take rocket science to see that kind of math doesn’t work. If we keep this up, it’s going to adversely affect the entire country.
“It looks like we’re also going to be spending a lot of money on the health care system. This is going to be a major drag on the economy if we don’t get it straightened out.”
Despite areas of pessimism, Myers says, there are reasons for optimism. “The Fed has promised to keep interest rates low through 2015. They’re going to keep them low is because they hold $3.5 trillion in debt. If interest rates go up, it will blow the budget completely out of the water, interest rates will be low for the foreseeable future.”
And he notes, the Dow-Jones Index has been setting new records recently.
“All this tells me there is money in this country, and around the world, that’s looking for investment opportunities. With interest rates near zero, they can’t get a return on CDs or other monetary investments, so they turn to stocks and/or land, and that’s another reason land prices are going up.
“A group from Argentina bought farm land in my area within the last year. They’d never seen buckshot soils before, but they’re trying to farm it, and they see it as a better investment than they can get elsewhere.
“But, the pendulum will swing back — it always does. My advice, though: You’d better hang on to your working capital, because you’re going to need it.”
Myers says he remains “very optimistic about our future in agriculture. Eighty percent of the people alive today are in developing countries. These countries are growing at a tremendous rate, their middle class is increasing at an unprecedented rate, and they want better food and clothes. They are buyers and consumers of what we produce. are increasingly the engine for our success.
These people are going to be buyers and consumers of what we produce. U.S. farmers are the most efficient, the most productive, and the most driven to be successful than any industry in the world. Each farmer once fed 20 people — today it’s 165. We feed and clothe the world, and that’s reason to be optimistic about the future of agriculture.”