Farmland loss, is it really a big deal?
The loss of farmland is happening at an alarming rate. In a recent Agweek article, it stated that the US lost 31 million acres of farmland from 1992-2012. This is an incredible number, approximately the size of the state of Iowa. But why does this have an impact on you? There are multiple reasons why limited supply of land impacts all of us.
Let’s make more!
The first reason this impacts you is because there isn’t any more being made. I do understand, as we witness the volcanic activity in Hawaii, that land is always being formed. But it will take a considerable amount of time for the breakdown process to occur just to grow anything on this newly formed land, let alone a crop you want to get paid for. The breakdown of rock to soil takes time and would take thousands of years for the weathering process to create a productive soil. So don’t wait around for it to happen.
The demand for food is higher
This loss of land means a higher demand for an investment you already have, your land. With the global demand for food between now and 2050, this need for land to produce the food, fiber and fuel will continue to grow. I know farmers have made great strides by improving yields over the years, but these levels are quickly being overtaken. As developing countries with very large populations create more wealth, their need for a diet of beef, chicken, and pork increases. Without a large land base, there could be a lot of hungry people and that is not good. Many wars have started because of food insecurity, and that will not change as we become more sophisticated. People will still be hungry and hungry people will do things outside their character.
Farmland loss effects food quality
With the need for what the land can produce being limited due to acre loss, the quality of this food can also diminish. More food will be produced on acres less suitable for crop production. Every US and global acre that can be used for crop production is currently being used. Even these acres that are in production have experienced soil degradation. This loss of high-quality soil impacts the quality of food being produced. One thing I would like for you to remember is that food quality is always influenced by soil quality. The more you can improve the quality of your soil, the more profitable your land will be for many years to come.
Rising cost of food, fuel and fiber
One effect that not just the landowner will face, but every consumer, is higher cost for food, fuel and fiber. As more of the food supply is grown on fewer productive acres, it costs more to do the job. Some of these factors that raise costs could be lack of water, fewer soil nutrients available, poor drainage, and competition from weeds. As we lose acres, the cost of food will increase.
You and I can’t control what every landowner does with their land; that is their right as an owner. But know that you have a unique investment that belongs to you, your land. Keeping it as one of your assets is a very good decision. One thing to remember: if you are not working with a farmer who can build your land instead of depleting it, you may be losing long-term value. Bird Dog can help you find that farmer who will impact your kids and grandkids by improving the way your land is being used today.