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Old 10-12-2009, 01:34 PM
 
Location: North Cackelacky....in the hills.
19,556 posts, read 19,544,697 times
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It appears that some want to assign some sort of 'blame' on the people coming out and buying land and not following what has been done in the past.

If you forced to buy a 40 acre parcel but only need 10 of the acres it is the laws that are at fault not the person buying the land.

How about the gov. stop interfering and deciding what is right and what is wrong for people?

Crazy idea I know,the idea that gov. shouldn't be involved....
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,490 posts, read 38,410,774 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
apples to oranges

Your example has no relativity to the concerns being brought up by Broken Tap ( and later by myself)

In your example, very little changed for the previous renter after you bought it.

In Broken Tap ( and my example ) a whole lot changed in regards to the renter after the land was sold.

In your example, that parcel was already " butchered up" into small fields/pastures.

In our example, the person buying it did the " butchering" up of the property.
Well, it had been "butchered up" for several owners, most of whom did use it for actual livestock production, before the people we bought it from purchased it (and they used it for livestock production until they divorced and she got the place and had a full-time job as a teacher in town - she sold it when her father died down in Victoria and she moved back to help her mother run the ranch down there - it would definitely have qualified in your criteria, I would think, being a working ranch of some hundreds of acres, though there it would constitute a "small ranch".

Next door is 500 acres, made up of three separate parcels of land that were purchased and put together by someone who figured it would be more marketable. Right now, it's leased for cattle (as the part right next to us has been by the same man for the past 50 years - he was part of the deal that put the three parcels together, for, guess what, development purposes, and he's a multi-generation rancher much like Broken Tap and, presumably, you). Who owns it now? A development company out of California that bought it planning to put in a development when the time is right - they now have it on the market for similar purposes, and no doubt it will sooner or later become a subdivision. These things can happen more than one way, you know.

Rather than attacking me because we've disagreed on other issues, how about addressing the ways I suggested of coming up with possible solutions to the problem? Or, even better, coming up with some workable ones yourself?
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:40 PM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,686,634 times
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I believe Broken Tap was using his OP to state a problem found in Maine.
I believe I posted in agreement cuz we are also having that same kind of problem in Minnesota.

Apparently , Texas, isn't having that same problem, thus you disagree and compare apples to oranges in an attempt to disagree with us.
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,490 posts, read 38,410,774 times
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marmac, if you'll actually read what I've said, I'm not disagreeing with you. In fact, I acknowledged that there's a problem by offering possible solutions and ways to achieve the goal of getting people to buy in town with smaller acreage rather than out of town on larger acreage. How on earth can you interpret that as disagreeing with you?
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:47 PM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,686,634 times
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-----"rather than attacking me because we disagree on other issues----"

???????????????????

FTI, if I took back the rep points I have given you on the real estate forum, your rep count would take a drop.

Don't sound like--disagreeing--to me.
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Old 10-12-2009, 03:34 PM
 
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I think the issue here is that farming out East and farming in the west (Ranching) is far different things. We are dairy farmers so pasturing cows is not something we do, in order to get milk production, you must feed rations everyday. We can't use marginal ground to grow high quality corn and grass, so that means its only arable land that we can use.

As Marmac points out, once your fragment a 40 acre field, with our equipment getting bigger and bigger, it takes us two acres just to turn around, much less working a two acre field. And worse yet, the people that buy these fields stick their houses smack in the middle of the field. Add in a septic field, a driveway, a house and then an outbuilding or two and you just sucked up 2 acres as is. Then add the set-backs from the well and septic system as per CNMP rules and you just sucked up another acre. So if a house sits in a 10 acre field, even if placed on the edge, that leaves you with a 7 acre field when its all said and done...unfarmable now.

But the worst part is, these people do not stick around. I can drive around this town and snap pictures and pictures of fields we used to harvest only 15 years ago. Now there is odd ball houses in the middle of them, all abandoned or with for sale signs on them, with trees growing up in what was prime agricultural land. It is darn sad.

I do however agree that legislation is not the way to address this issue, as I have yet to see the Goverment do anything that they did not screw up. But they seem determined in Maine to do something. I would like to present them a workable plan rather then have them concoct something pretty lame-brained.

As for grass roots efforst TexasHoreslady. I could not agree more. The one thing I have found in agriculture is that EVERYONE says they want to help the farmers, but NO ONE actually does. Perhaps that is because unless you are actually a farmer, and know what it is like, you are not helping. NCRS-RC@D is useless, Maine Farmlink is a scam, heck even my own ag committe, the Soil and Water Conservation District truly wants to address this issue, but so far we have yet to tackle it. The one thing I would like to do is make a brochure that explains how to situate a home where it could help mitigate some of the issues of planting a house in the middle of a field. I can snap plenty of pictures of this too when an even better house location would be off to one side or the other where a house could take advantage of the views.

Still the best solution is for homesteaders to just stay small. They will never have the 50 head of cows they dream of. Stay in the village, let them raise a few head of livestock and let the rest of us do what we do best...feed this great nation.
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Old 10-12-2009, 03:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oz in SC View Post
If you(a farmer) could expand the size of your farm, how would this help your situation?

With expansion wouldn't everything else go up accordingly?

If you(the farmer) are working so hard now how will getting bigger help?

It seems this is a mindset that is prevalent in business...if you get bigger you will be more successful...of course it seems most big companies are in dire straits right now.

And as has been posted above,why can't the farmers simply go ask the new landowners about leasing the property that is being unused?
No, its called efficiency of scale. With the equipment we have, and the size of the farm and the logistics, we are poised to add another 50% of dairy cows to the farm and really only need to add to the land base and maybe another worker. There is no doubt that no other profession could run at the efficiency a dairy farm runs at. No way. How could any other business operate this way? We buy everything at retail prices and turn around and sell our milk at wholesale prices based on the government dictating what it is worth instead of the free market system. The only way to compete is to produce more milk.

With farming not everything doubles because the size of the farm doubles. You don't need to automatically double your milk tank, double your equipment, double your tractor size, etc. A lot of that stuff would remain the same. You just need more space for the cows and more land base in which to raise crops to feed those cows. For the American Dairy Farmer, they have to get bigger or they go under. Period.

They predict 1 out of 4 dairy farms will go under in the next few years, the challenge is not to be on the bottom 25%. Once those 25% are gone however, the bigger farmers will grow and make up for the lost production. In order for us to obtain that market share, we have to grow now so that we are in an advantageous position to take the uptick in the market.

The real question is, do the Maine people want that production filled by Maine Dairy Farms, or do they want their Milk from New York state or other countries? This is what has happened in the past.

Keep in mind, this marketing stuff is just part of what a dairy farmer HAS to know. Knowing vet medicine, being a soil scientist, being a mechanic, being a laborer, being a truck driver and being a heavy equipment operator just starts to describe some of the other hats that we wear to pull this all off.
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:29 PM
 
Location: North Cackelacky....in the hills.
19,556 posts, read 19,544,697 times
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Let me ask you this,the equipment you had to buy to become big enough to even compete with the mega farms cost how much?

And is all this equipment actually making you competitive considering you say you still need to expand?

The independent store cannot compete against Walmart...and the small farmer cannot compete against the corporate owned mega farms.

But you can try I guess.

But to assign 'blame' to others who do not think like you(the homesteaders you mention) seems a little short sighted,especially considering your way doesn't seem to be working.
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Old 10-13-2009, 02:59 AM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,158,802 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oz in SC View Post
Let me ask you this,the equipment you had to buy to become big enough to even compete with the mega farms cost how much?
A lot. The chopper was a quarter million, and the bigger tractors were up in to 100,000k range along with implements in the 50K range. Its a lot of investment, but in the end we can farm harder, and faster which is critical here in the Northeast where weather patterns change quickly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oz in SC View Post
And is all this equipment actually making you competitive considering you say you still need to expand?
Of course it is. When we get windows of opportunity like this summer teeming with rain, we can pounce on a few days of good weather and harvest 160-200 acres a day, where as before we were lucky to harvest 100 acres in a day. At the same time every piece of equipment we buy is bought to reduce fuel consumption and trips around a field. It used to take us 3 gallons of fuel to plant our corn crop every year, now with bigger tractors and implements, we have reduced that fuel consumption to less then 1 gallon per acre. And its the same thing with harvested haylage. We used to mow with 10 foot haybines, then we moved up to 16 foot haybines and now we are looking at 46 foot mowers. That not only saves fuel for the mowing operation, it means less trips around the field for the chopper too, and the trucks the grass is blown into, and of course wear and tear on the tires, and wear and tear on the trucks, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oz in SC View Post
The independent store cannot compete against Walmart...and the small farmer cannot compete against the corporate owned mega farms.

But you can try I guess.
We have farmed here for 252 consecutive years and resiliency is what makes a true farmer a farmer, and why the homesteader typically only lasts 8 years...when things get difficult they can not assess, adapt and overcome as we have. We simply cannot throw up our hands and say, "well things are tough, better throw in the towel." Its been a tough year, just as 2006 was, but we are still here, we are still farming and that's because we love what we do, and we are dedicated to holding onto the farm despite the many pressures and the easier way out of selling.

Of course the independent store can compete against Walmart, they just cannot do so on price.

We all dislike the fact that we are not on the free market system, but it does keep the playing field level by ensuring everyone's milk prices are indeed the same. So the way we compete with the mega-farms is by knowing how they farm and their weaknesses. We can do that because the mega-farms rely on cheap midwest feed and grain. Since ethanol has driven up the value of corn and soybeans, they are not producing cheap feed to the mega-farmers anymore. Since these mega-farms lack the land base to produce all the feed they need, they are going under at unprecedented rates. We are to far away to rely on midwest grain and feed, so we produce it ourselves. We have changed our farming methods, our harvest and planting times, and done a lot to ensure that our dependence on grain-fed cows for milk production is greatly reduced. This means putting crackers on the chopper so that the cows get more from the individual kernels of corn, and that the grass ground is harvested at peak protein levels, and through GMO corn we are getting cob weight ratios of 50% kernel to the ton.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oz in SC View Post
But to assign 'blame' to others who do not think like you(the homesteaders you mention) seems a little short sighted,especially considering your way doesn't seem to be working.
Our way is working. There are only 335 dairy farmers in Maine left and yet we are producing enough milk to satisfy the New England region. This is why I am such a huge proponent of the regional system. There is enough milk produced in New England to keep the population adaquately supplied with milk, yet there is enough of a demand that it keeps the milk prices high enough so that the farmer can actually make money doing so.

The problem right now is, the dairy farmers in the Upper New York produce far more then their area needs, so they are looking for a place to sell it. Creameries would love to decrease demand so that farmer milk prices would drop, and they could do that by accepting milk from NY and Canada, but currently we have importation rules that prohibit that unless absolutely nessasary. This is why Maine dairy farmers are so hated. We have figured out a way to balance supply and demand. Granted the market is in a serious slump now, but its showing signs of easing...the cheese price is on the way up...finally. The first time in months.

Will we weather the storm? Of course. We have done so before, and yes we will expand. Our poor farm is milking cows 24/7 right now because we are overcrowded as is. But we do not have a choice. We have the wonderful probloem of having more family members who want to stay on the farm and make a living be next generational farmers. Incidentally Marmac's has children that embrace farming as well. With more income having to be spread over more family incomes, we have to milk more cows, we have to expand, and we need more land base to do that.

But this is not a bad thing. Historically in order to be a succesful farmer, you need to have lots of experoence, not do something on a trial basis, and not rely entirely on mortagaged funds. In years past, the USDA would fund anyone and everyone who expressed an interest in farming, and around here those farms have all gone under and ultimately sold out and grew homes instead of milk. Now there is a big push to fund only Next generational Farmers because the odds are far more likely that in 10 years time, they will still be in business.

Don't you think it is far more noble in 2009 for a farmer to use what little arable land is left to kick food onto the national food chain, rather then be used as an experiment for some homesteaders individual needs? Come on up and I'll give you a tour, it will absolutely make you sick at seeing good farm land destroyed by homesteaders who have tried this or that, and then left when the going got to tough, or their ideas did not work out.

I have no problems with homesteaders trying to "be self suffecient", but I wish they would try to mimimize their impact, find a nice village like where I live, and experiment there. That way if it does not work out, their impact is minimalized. Some of us are working to feed a nation and need that land.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:00 AM
 
Location: North Cackelacky....in the hills.
19,556 posts, read 19,544,697 times
Reputation: 2499
Thanks for the explanation,I disagree with one of your points(it is far more noble in 2009 for a farmer to use what little arable land is left to kick food onto the national food chain, rather then be used as an experiment for some homesteaders individual needs) but that is neither here nor there.

Thank you also for explaining why a certain number of dairies will go under in your area.

I do find the gov. intrusion into the production/pricing of milk(or almost anything) troubling but it does keep the price high enough to make it worthwhile to the farmers.
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