A New Threat to U.S. Agriculture: Wall Street’s Industrial Plans for Family Farms

Investors are buying up family farmland for industrial purposes that include fracking, thus causing economic and environmental concerns.
By Oakland Institute
Feb. 20, 2014
Add to My MSN

Half of all U.S. farmland will come up for sale over the next two decades, and that opportunity has caught the attention of investors.
Photo by Fotolia/Zeljko Radojko


Content Tools

Related Content

Celebrate Where We Are

Yesterday I had coffee with Kirk Adkisson, a pastor who’s starting a progressive Presbyterian church...

What is Sustainable Farming?

A long-overdue description of sustatinable agriculture and why it's important.

Dangers of Fracking Farmland: Our Food Supply’s at Risk

Extracting natural gas via hydraulic fracturing is a controversial process that leaves behind hundre...

The Problem with Environmentalists

For decades environmentalists have been passionate about the cause and, it turns out, we were right....

The wolves of Wall Street are eyeing millions of acres of U.S. farmland that will soon come up for sale, much of which has been in the hands of family farmers for generations, according to Down on the Farm, a new study from the Oakland Institute.

"Institutional investors"—including hedge funds, private equity, pension funds, and university endowments—have trained their sights on America's agricultural infrastructure," said Lukas Ross, an Oakland Institute Fellow and author of the report. "If they succeed in consolidating control over our land and infrastructure, this new class of land barons could imperil our nation's food supply."

Investors are increasingly interested in capitalizing on the run-up in the value of private-equity assets. So they're lining up to purchase some 400 million acres that will become available over the next two decades. That's half of all U.S. farmland.

Relying on material from the Freedom of Information Act, the report exposes shocking details of unsafe and environmentally irresponsible practices of absentee investor-owners—as well as legal battles over major labor violations.These would-be owners see $1.8 trillion in land that could be exploited for industrial farming as well as fracking and fossil-fuel production. But their pursuit of a quick buck is driving land prices up, imperils farmers' economic future, the viability of the farm and rural economy, and jeopardizes the long-term health of the land.

Down on the Farm also profiles several farmers who are struggling to get or hold onto land of their own, thanks in part to the Wall Street-driven run-up in farmland prices.

Initiatives like the Agrarian Trust and California FarmLink are providing critical support to U.S. farmers. But more must be done.

"We must act to ensure that farmers—not non-operational owners with decidedly less noble intentions—remain in control of our nation's farmland," said Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute. "If we don't, America's agricultural heritage—not to mention our ability to produce enough food to feed our people—could disintegrate."

For more information download the report.








Post a comment below.

 

Aeslin
3/2/2014 7:34:29 AM
and if GMO's are not bad for health... (who's ever health it may be) then WHY? does the kitchens of monsanto and the white house have all natural organic food?

Aeslin
3/2/2014 7:32:10 AM
the land holders must see the future in a way to know that mass market commercialism of farms and food will result in the demise of the health and interest of the people. GMO's will spread (and slowly kill all the insects, pure soil, etc.) It will be one big great value, market in ALL of your grocery stores. Cheap garbage with killer chemicals all inside of your food. Chemical weapons in disguise.. Land "owners" need to find more resourceful ways to make money from selling their deeds to the people rather than to the interest and agenda of the mass killers of the "top of the mountain, as they think they are on and wish to remain, which they are NOT. Sustainable energy, small local, and regional buisiness for food, shelter, and other things people must have to live and prosper are the key here. It is clear as Quartz that this is a red flag in disguise as the old KKKapatilistic ways of the shoott and tiee guy puking on the good people.

Aeslin
3/2/2014 7:31:37 AM
the land holders must see the future in a way to know that mass market commercialism of farms and food will result in the demise of the health and interest of the people. GMO's will spread (and slowly kill all the insects, pure soil, etc.) It will be one big great value, market in ALL of your grocery stores. Cheap garbage with killer chemicals all inside of your food. Chemical weapons in disguise.. Land "owners" need to find more resourceful ways to make money from selling their deeds to the people rather than to the interest and agenda of the mass killers of the "top of the mountain, as they think they are on and wish to remain, which they are NOT. Sustainable energy, small local, and regional buisiness for food, shelter, and other things people must have to live and prosper are the key here. It is clear as Quartz that this is a red flag in disguise as the old KKKapatilistic ways of the shoott and tiee guy puking on the good people.








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.