A Financial Tsunami has Reached America’s Farmers… But Not All in the Same Way

A financial crisis has fallen on U.S. conventional and organic farmers alike … but for different reasons with a different impact.

Conventional grain farmers have seen the prices for their corn and soybeans fall to the extent that many struggle to produce at a profit. With grain still in their bins from last year’s harvest and anticipating a fast approaching bumper crop this year, over supply has, as it always does, driven down prices.

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Sustainable Farm Partners acquires Fairfield organic farm

Over the past year Sustainable Farm Partners (SFP) has been in negotiations with the Sustainable Farm Development Group to purchase their 150 acre organic farm just north of Fairfield, Iowa. This acquisition represents SFP’s decision to move beyond their original fund structure, shifting to building individual investment partnerships containing one or multiple farms. The partnership, Fairfield One LLC, is a Reg D, 504 entity.

The farm is 150 acres made up of 120 tillable acres with grass waterways and a 25 acre farmstead with a farmhouse, 2,000 sq. ft. certified food grade production facility, grain bins, a greenhouse, two ponds and a beautiful old barn with a barn owl couple keeping watch over the mice population.

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Trade war leaves conventional farmers in a mess

What a world we live in.

We now know that we are in a trade war with China. When a trade war was just a threat, China began canceling US soybean contracts and Brazil is now filling that gap. This shift in markets will impact conventional US grain farmers for years to come. This has caused already low soybean prices to drop even farther putting many conventional farmers in a Continue reading

Alternatives To Grow Your Wealth

Do you control the economies across the world?

The malfeasance in the financial markets that caused the 2009 meltdown, wars & global conflict, inflation, trade wars, debt, natural disasters, politicians? Of course, you don’t but these are the tails that wag the stock market dog.

Today’s turbulent stock market limits your growth where the safest choice you have is a 30 day T-bill yielding 1.75%? Short term thinking yields short-term results. Hoping that it gets better on its own is not a strategy.

There are lessons to be learned from Warren Buffet, an investor who has beaten the stock market from day one by investing in Continue reading

The Best is Yet to Come

harn soperI thought you might find this article that came out today in the Green Money Journal of interest and to reminder that our team at Sustainable Farm Partners look forward to staying in touch. There is great satisfaction in knowing you can invest profitably in a way that aligns with your personal values.

These value-based investments in organic farming come one farm at a time. Investing in our next farm opportunity, Fairfield One, is closing in six weeks.

The best is yet to come. Continue reading

The Law of Declining Marginal Returns

The Law of Declining Marginal Returns applies to all aspects of life. If you follow this thread, the law actually determines life itself. Declining returns cause markets to implode, governments to fall, environments to collapse causing civilizations to fail. Here we are today, sitting on that edge.

The Problem

Archeo-anthropologist Joseph Tainter defines “declining marginal returns” laying the cause at the feet of energy and agriculture. Continue reading

Invest in a Business and Not Just Markets

As I prepared for this article I realized that there are so many myths about investing. One myth is the concept of a balanced portfolio. A balanced portfolio are how stocks and bonds are supposed to offset each other. So I can properly explain why these myths are giving us a false sense of security I thought I would start with a quick definition of the two markets and the concept of a balanced portfolio.

What is the Bond Market?

The bond market, also called the debt market or credit market, is a financial market in which the investors are provided with the issuance and trading of debt securities. The bond market primarily includes government-issued securities and corporate debt securities, facilitating the transfer of capital from savers to the issuers or organizations requiring capital for government projects, business expansions, and ongoing operations. Definition courtesy of Investopedia.

What is the Stock Market?

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How Soil Health Impacts All Wealth

In today’s complex economy how do we progress financially from where we are today and the life of abundance we seek? This is the first question a financial advisor will ask us. It is seldom an easy question to answer because the quality of our life isn’t measured purely in financial terms. There are multiple factors including our work, our family and, fundamentally, our values. How does our quest for financial wealth balance with the people and planet upon whom we depend? Surprisingly, it all begins with the Continue reading

Organic Economics In A World of Industrial Agriculture: Applying the Power of Nature

In order to understand how we arrived at today’s food system and the opportunity to expand into organics, some history is in order.

Prior to World War II, the food economy in the US was typified by organic market gardens and small grocery stores that carried fewer than 500 items. Self-sufficiency was a necessity as the economic grip of the Great Depression remained. The food supply was local and the average farm size was 157 acres. Continue reading

Robots in the Mud

There is a lot of well-deserved interest in agriculture these days. After all, growing food is critical in any economy and is uncorrelated to gyrations in the stock market. In fact, the value of Iowa farmland out-perform the DJIA. The question here is, can high tech robotics improve our yields, returns, and efficiency?

Recently, a group of researchers from Harper Adams University in the UK designed an integrated system of robots to undertake all the necessary farming steps to grow and harvest a one hector plot of barley. While the barley yield in their experiment was below par, I give them high marks for Continue reading

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