Farm And Ranch Country Posts


farm-voteTed Cruz an anti ethanol guy won the Iowa Republican caucus.  I know it is a caucus and not a primary and it is IOWA but wow.

The “Rural Vote” matters but does the Farm and Ranch Policy vote matter?

Their are less and less commercial production agricultural people.  Social Security and Medicade/Medicare are the most important government money transfer programs in most rural counties.

Only in a few very rural, very agricultural states does the farm and ranch policy vote matter.  There are probably 40 Congressional Seats where it matters a bunch and another 40 where it matters some.  So a candidate for congress from an agricultural area better have a good ag policy background, but on a larger scale it does not matter as much anymore.

So does a Presidential Candidate need a big time agricultural coalition???  It is nice but not near as a necessity as it was just 20 years ago.  Rural voters care much more deeply about other issues than ag policy when it comes time to go to the voting booth.

As recently as 2006 the republicans lost control of the House of Representatives because of a refusal to pass a crop and livestock disaster bill.  Which they then allowed to be passed after the election.  Thankfully for them the TEA PARTY roared the republicans back into power in 2010.  Maybe it had more to do with Obama and how he is not really oriented to rural issues at all.  But remember I am talking about the House not a nationwide campaign.

In the 1990’s it mattered what your agricultural policy was.  Now remember I am saying agricultural policy not rural policy issues.  I will get to those later.

The Electoral map has changed.  Used to be a republican could not win the presidency if they did not win Illinois.  Not now.  Illinois has not voted republican since 1984.  Iowa has voted for a democrat since 1984, except for 2004.  So, your 2 big corn producers 2 of the 3 “I” states have voted democrat from 1984 until now except for Iowa in 2004.  From 1968 until 1984 they went reliably republican.  And, we are talking about 2 of the states most heavily dependent on farm program payments. 

In the 1990’s it mattered.  Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton were fighting over control of the House and Senate and they went at it in many rural areas.  Areas in the old south that used to vote conservative democrat switched to conservative republican.

So for a Presidential election the battleground states have changed and they have went away from many traditional agricultural policy big money receiving states.   Florida, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina are the big ones now.  Also Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Wisconsin, and yes maybe Iowa.  But most ag states will be won on lower taxes, less and I mean less regulation.  Can you say no WOTUS and repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Remember some really big ag states are firmly in the democrat tank.  No need to waste time and energy on ag policy for Minnesota or Illinois.  Rural voters in let’s say Springfield, Missouri are probably wound up on lots of other conservative issues rather than agricultural policy.

Agricultural Groups are going away from rural people.  I know really a bold statement.  Lately they have been hiring lots of ex democratic staffers as commodity and farm group organization staff.  The groups want “access” to the democratic lawmakers.  I sometimes wonder what good it will do.  You may get to meet with them but will it really get you anything in the end???  Maybe I also think you risk upsetting longtime relationships with conservative members.  But, they figure 2 things I think.  One, the conservatives naturally support lots of issues the ag groups do, and the members of the ag groups are the people who vote and live in the conservative members districts.  And two,  none of the ag groups members live in many of the democrat members districts so we have to hire somebody to get in the door with them.

Democrat farmers tend to be a lot more involved in farm organizations than many republican farmers are.  I just like to keep track of stuff and I try and pick up on hints  and how people lean.  I also have the advantage of being publicly out on the right side and I often get little comments directed my way.  So my observation.  Membership in farm organizations is about 80-20 republican over democrat, but those heavily involved is about 60-40 republican over democrat, but when you get to top leadership it is more 50-50.  And, from comments by staff especially retired staff posted on social media, staff is much more liberal than membership. Staff is important they really run things.

Many big agricultural organizations also have big time business interests that they have to protect.

And, I like this example.  There are at least two Illinois counties that have no organized democrat political organization, none.  No elected democrat precinct committee person, so that means no county organization. None, nothing, nada, and now I ask do the county organizations for agriculture really need to worry about that side of the isle???  It is all becoming big city, big suburbs on one side of the isle and I see it continuing that way.  Less rural representation because we are losing population, but what is left is becoming more conservative.  The old Roosevelt democrats are dying off in rural America.

In the end ag policy does not matter in national politics as much as it once did because of numbers.  Do the math.

Rural Issues that matter to rural voters, not in any particular order, just stuff that matters to voters.


Private Property Rights

Social Issues, the conservative ones

Health Care Costs

Self – employed business issues

Rules and over regulations

Military Strength

Veteran Issues

America First

Foreign Entanglements


Then maybe Agricultural Policy



The revised edition: In other words the correct episode posted.

I have been asked to speak at a young farmer meeting this summer and after outlining it, I said hey I should do tfarm podcasthis as a podcast. So here goes.

Social media for farmers. Whether it is our age or whatever as an industry agriculture, especially production ag has been slow to adopt social media. I will discuss how my wife started, how it evolved, and how I got to where I am today. I also look out to the future and see what that could look like.

The Internet has changed farming and ranching, so has mobile devices. Where does this lead to next.

The future of government farm programs. Have we seen the future and is it the 1970’s???

So do we have a total payment limit including crop insurance subsidies? In the 1980’s they needed to save rural banking. From 1992 until 2006 republicans and democrats were fighting over rural congressional seats. Clinton vs. Gingrich

Obama and progressive democrats have pretty much put the end to rural democrats.

Rural women rock, they as a whole are very conservative.

Social security along with Medicare and Medicade are more important than farm program payments.

Hard to justify $$$ to a bunch of rich white guys, well balance sheet rich.

So what would the limit be, probably lot less then we have now.

These United States and lots of states and cities are broke. Money is probably going away.

Trade, what a loaded question from one year ago. Lots of ag groups pushing real hard, but I think we maybe hurting ourselves in the future. Time to lay in the weeds and let this all play out. We can always push it through in a lame duck session if one has too.

I for one would give Mr. Trump a try to see if he can get us a better deal.

I touch on how I got involved with the Trump campaign. Let’s just say this is not my first rodeo.

Lastly I give some advice to young farmers. It was the, who asked me to speak. I give them 5 points to ponder.

This podcast can be listened to in 5 sections. I covered 5 areas so you can break this up how you want.

To the smartest people in agriculture, thanks for listening.


“Everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face”  Mike TysonMike Tyson

Stock Market real high

Britain votes whether to leave the European Union on June 23rd.

Europe has lots of problems.

U.S. will have a new President in November.

Last jobs report was bad.  States and cities are going broke.

Germany has big elections coming up next year.

If Britain votes to leave Europe does that mean the U. S. will elect Trump in November.  Some believe so.  People all over the world are not happy with the status quo.

A Trump win in November probably is very good for main street not so good for Wall street.

Hillary is not without her troubles.  She may have to pick Elizabeth Warren as her running mate just to placate the progressive Bernie voters.

Migration fatigue and Nationalism are running rampant in Europe.  Will Germany leave the EU ?????

U.S. economy back to where it was in the late 1970’s ????????

Lowest labor participation rate since 1977.  62.6%

U.S. stocks often tumble as two-term presidents leave office.

I discuss China problems, Mexico problems, exporter countries have problems, oil countries, South American socialists problems, Southern European countries problems.

Not a good outlook, so how was the 2016 recession for you???????

I don’t know, we may not have one, but it looks more and more likely.


farm land prices investmentI believe the topic of land prices and land as an investment is worthy of taking a chance.  I am a real estate broker so I follow land prices pretty close.

I look at what land prices have done in the past few years.  Hunting/brush land in the Midwest has gone down a lot in value.  The spread between good land and poorer quality land is getting wider.  Old saying “you pay for a good farm once,but a bad farm you keep on paying for it.  High quality land that is easy to farm continues to bring real good money.

I talk about how some in the ag media always mention the high land sale prices, but not the bargain buys.  Headlines sells media.  They always mention the extreme highs.  Generally you have to dig into the article to glean the information.

I discuss why a young farmer may look at a poorer quality tract to get started.  And, what are you going to eventually do with that land.  Occasionally at a land sale you can get a great bargain, but you may have to attend a hundred sales to get that bargain.  With today’s technology the cost to farm hard to farm ground is not as high as it used to be.  Beginning farmer programs also generally have a loan limit.

A central place of operations.  A “home” base if that describes it better.What does it need to be attractive?  Why a poorer piece of ground may work for that.  Things to consider: drainage, road access – is it 80,000# year around, type of electric delivery, 3 phase or not, natural gas, internet high speed availability school district, either high or low taxes, or if you build a home there, where the kids will go to school?  Is this place centrally located to your enterprise?  Remember to plan for expansion.  Shop, machinery storage, grain storage, grain drying, house, pond?

A cattle farmer is thinking about several tracts that lie next to each other, have cheap “brush” land, some tillable land and some abandoned pasture on it.  What he sees as an opportunity.  Skid steers, bulldozer, track hoe can clean up a farm real quick these days.

Biggest mistake I made when I was young was not buying more farmland when it was cheap.  It may not be cheap now, but equity in land will save several older farmers in these lean years.

I think at some point in your farming career I believe a farmer or rancher needs to get a tract of land bought and paid for.  Especially as a base of operations.  A place that is yours and you can run your operation out of that place.

As land prices have come off their highs, the spread between good ground and poorer ground has widened out.  So when land was at its high the spread was closer and the poor quality was not a good as buy.  At the bottom in the 1980’s poor ground was half the price of good ground.

Higher interest rates will affect the price of ground.  Lots of pressure to raise the interest rates so savers get a better rate of return.  Investors will put some of this money in the bank instead of land if interest rates rise.


2016 will go down as the election year the parties lost control.

trump bernie save democracy

Both the democratic and republican establishments have taken big hits and have had a lot of exposure in how “the process” really works.

Dan Carlin on his Common Sense podcast calls Donald Trump a “Historical Arsonist” an

d that Bernie Sanders is “Supplying the Firewood”.  Others now

call Trump the Tangerine Tornado for tearing through the republican primary system.

One of the reasons Bernie will not win the democratic nomination is that the democratic party has even a more rigged process than the republicans do.  It is called “super delegates” on the democratic side.

I have always believed sunlight is one of natures best disinfectants and shining the light on how the parties pick “their” presidential candidates has lots of people in the general public in an uproar.  It has always been this way.  Now was just the first time with the “new” media it has been exposed for what it really is.  a rigged game from the start.  The two party system was designed so that whoever won the nominations could go on and be President that would satisfy the “elites” in this country.  Or the establishment if you will.

Occasionally a Barry Goldwater or George McGovern would win and then the establishment figured we will just make sure “our” candidate will win the general, and they did.

I really wonder could the political establishment destroy Barry Goldwater in this day and age with conservative talk radio, the internet and everybody having a phone on their camera.  When it was just the three big liberal networks and they controlled the message it was pretty easy to control the process.  But not now.  Newspapers also had a big say in what went on, but now how many 20 somethings  read a daily newspaper?

Trump has really shown people how to use the internet, social media, and self funding to win.  Jeb Bush’s super pac was spending money on billboards outside arenas where Trump had people in line who had ordered their tickets to the event on their cell phone.  Like they were going to look up from their phone to see a billboard?

Trump has also gone around all the high priced handlers, money bundlers, pollsters, economists, message makers, etc., etc., etc.  He has hurt the business of politics.  He also was meeting voters while early in the campaign other candidates were busy spending most of their time raising money, meeting high priced donors, and having their “message massaged” by all those high priced handlers.

My father is a World War 2 combat vet and this is a quote “first SOB to come along and not be politically correct, I am going to support them”.  Think a lot of people feel that way.

So where to from here.  I think there will be lots of resistance to change, but after lots of people found out they did not even get to vote (Colorado) or their vote was pretty worthless, several things will happen.

I see more open primaries.

I see delegate results tied directly to candidates and who the delegate HAS to vote for at the convention.

People really want to have a say in who is governing them.  I believe we are on the edge of more changes and a weakening of the party structure.

OPEN and HONEST elections are what people want.  Of course I can also say “be careful what you ask for you just might get it”.

Bernie and the Donald, two outsiders who I think if they could have had a chance running as independents for President would have.  But, the system was so rigged they had to work from the inside out and make it happen that way.  Bernie just did not have Donald’s resources.

2020 election especially the primary for whatever party does not win in 2016 should be real fun to watch!