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After peak oil we need small family farms. But U.S. farms are getting even bigger

After peak oil we need small family farms. But U.S. farms are getting even bigger

Preface. Oh dear, wrong direction! Eventually 75 to 90% of Americans will need to be farmers to feed their family and support craftsmen and others in towns, just as it always was before fossil fuels arrived. These big farms are more dependent on fossils than smaller farms as well. I would hate to see them survive peak oil, because that would mean most people would become peasant/slaves rather than owning their own land.


Weinraub, M. 2019. Size matters. Big U.S. farms get even bigger amid China trade war. finance.yahoo.com

HAZELTON, N.D. (Reuters) – As the 2018 harvest approached, North Dakota farmer Mike Appert had a problem – too many soybeans and nowhere to put them. Selling was a bad option. Prices were near decade lows as U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade war with China weighed heavily on the market. Temporary storage would only buy him a little bit of time, particularly in an area where cold weather can damage crops stored in plastic bags.

So Appert, who farms 48,000 acres (19,425 hectares), cut a check for $800,000 to build eight new permanent steel bins. That allowed him to hold onto his bumper crop and wait for prices to recover.

He sold half of the 456,000 bushels stored on his farm throughout the following summer, earning about $1 more per bushel and avoiding storage at nearby CHS elevators or an Archer Daniels Midland Co. <ADM.N> processor in the area.

But most farmers do not have $800,000 to spend on steel bins, and many are going under. The number of U.S. farms fell by 12,800 to 2.029 million in 2018, the smallest ever, as the trade war pushes more farmers into retirement or bankruptcy.

Roger Hadley, who farms 1,000 acres in Indiana, was unable to plant any corn and soybeans this year after heavy rains added to farmers’ woes.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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