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.


| Feb. 20, 2014


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.

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.






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