Desperation Acres

User avatar
RoadScholar
Posts: 8578
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:25 am
Location: Baltimore
Occupation: Historic Restoration Woodworker
Contact:

Re: Desperation Acres

#26

Post by RoadScholar »

Judge Roy Bean wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:43 pm
The arguments have gone on forever and it helps to step back and take a larger economic view - consider this:
A study by economists at the consultancy Deloitte seeks to shed new light on the relationship between jobs and the rise of technology by trawling through census data for England and Wales going back to 1871.
...
The census data also provide an insight into the impact on jobs in a once-large, but now almost forgotten, sector. In 1901, in a population in England and Wales of 32.5 million, 200,000 people were engaged in washing clothes. By 2011, with a population of 56.1 million just 35,000 people worked in the sector.
...
The Deloitte economists believe that rising incomes have allowed consumers to spend more on personal services, such as grooming. That in turn has driven employment of hairdressers.

So while in 1871, there was one hairdresser or barber for every 1,793 citizens of England and Wales; today there is one for every 287 people.
These kinds of things are not the result of some evil conspiracy. What all of us decide to spend money on is the ultimate driving force.
Nobody said anything about an evil conspiracy. It’s just the logical consequence of market capitalism. A company that invests $750,000 in an automatic logging machine can do the job cheaper than a crew with chainsaws. The big guy wins, the little guys lose. It’s just business.

Business is about profit, period. That brings up the fallacy of one of the arguments pure unregulated market fans make: that competition will solve all problems. But in reality, big business tries to eliminate competition. And they naturally hire lobbyists to influence Congress in ways that make them more money.

They don’t need to conspire. They just do what they can be expected to do.
The bitterest truth is healthier than the sweetest lie.
X3

User avatar
Addie
Posts: 40431
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:22 am
Location: downstairs

Re: Desperation Acres

#27

Post by Addie »

Wall Street Journal
'This One Here Is Gonna Kick My Butt'--Farm Belt Bankruptcies Are Soaring

A wave of bankruptcies is sweeping the U.S. Farm Belt as trade disputes add pain to the low commodity prices that have been grinding down American farmers for years... Bankruptcies in three regions covering major farm states last year rose to the highest level in at least 10 years. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, had double the bankruptcies in 2018 compared with 2008. In the Eighth Circuit, which includes states from North Dakota to Arkansas, bankruptcies swelled 96%. The 10th Circuit, which covers Kansas and other states, last year had 59% more bankruptcies than a decade earlier.

States in those circuits accounted for nearly half of all sales of U.S. farm products in 2017, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. The rise in farm bankruptcies represents a reckoning for rural America, which has suffered a multiyear slump in prices for corn, soybeans and other farm commodities touched off by a world-wide glut, made worse by growing competition from agriculture powerhouses such as Russia and Brazil.

Trade disputes under the Trump administration with major buyers of U.S. farm goods, such as China and Mexico, have further roiled agricultural markets and pressured farmers’ incomes. Prices for soybeans and hogs plummeted after those countries retaliated against U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs by imposing duties on U.S. products like oilseeds and pork, slashing shipments to big buyers. Low milk prices are driving dairy farmers out of business in a market that’s also struggling with retaliatory tariffs on U.S. cheese from Mexico and China. Tariffs on U.S. pork have helped contribute to a record buildup in U.S. meat supplies, leading to lower prices for beef and chicken. ...

For Nebraska farmer Kirk Duensing, filing for bankruptcy was a last resort, his only choice after several years of low corn and soybean prices meant too many bills he couldn’t pay. Mr. Duensing has managed to keep farming, hiring himself out to plant crops for other farmers for extra income and borrowing from an investment group at an interest rate twice as high as offered by traditional lenders. Despite selling some land and equipment, Mr. Duensing remains more than $1 million in debt.

“I’ve been through several dips in 40 years,” said Mr. Duensing. “This one here is gonna kick my butt.”

User avatar
Volkonski
Posts: 28424
Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:44 pm
Location: Texas Gulf Coast and North Fork of Long Island
Occupation: Retired Mechanical Engineer

Re: Desperation Acres

#28

Post by Volkonski »

How ethanol plant shutdowns deepen pain for U.S. corn farmers

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... ce=twitter
Some 13 ethanol plants have shut since November 2018, roughly 4.4% of the nation’s capacity, in a decline the biofuel industry blames on the Trump administration’s expanded use of waivers to exempt oil refineries from blending ethanol into gasoline. Several other ethanol plants temporarily reduced production during that time.

The issue could test the Farm Belt’s support for President Donald Trump in next year’s election: farmers that have largely forgiven the administration for the dire impacts of the trade war are less forgiving when it comes to its biofuel policy.

“That was really felt as a betrayal,” Hodgen said.

“All of us knew that China was going to have to be dealt with. It hurt but it needed to be done,” said Jeff Gormong, another Indiana farmer. “The small refinery exemptions are benefiting the petroleum industry at the expense of the ag industry.”
Image“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

User avatar
Volkonski
Posts: 28424
Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:44 pm
Location: Texas Gulf Coast and North Fork of Long Island
Occupation: Retired Mechanical Engineer

Re: Desperation Acres

#29

Post by Volkonski »

Milk Has Long Been a Staple of American Life. But Now, the Dairy Industry Is in Trouble

https://time.com/5762011/america-milk-i ... d=80420312
America has fallen out of love with drinking milk, as lower-calorie options have proliferated and people are substituting water bottles for milk cartons. Americans each drank an estimated 146 lb. of fluid milk–a category that includes products from skim to cream–in 2018, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service. That may sound like a lot, but it’s down 26% just since 2000.

:snippity:

On the other end of the supply chain, dairy farms are facing trouble of their own. The low prices that were a boon to processors left small farmers struggling across the industry. The number of Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies in 2019 was up 24% from the previous year. “We’re trying our darndest to hang on,” says Mary Rieckmann, a dairy farmer in Wisconsin whose family has turned to GoFundMe to keep their century-old farm running.

Borden, which was founded in 1857, has 3,300 employees and 13 plants across the South and Midwest. The company says it plans to continue to operate as it restructures under court supervision. But if that plan fails, it wouldn’t be the first dairy processor to cease operations. There were 605 fluid-milk plants in America in 1990. By 2018, there were only 459.
When I was a boy in Massachusetts there was a small dairy just down the street from our house. It provided the small glass bottles of milk to our town's schools.

In those days milk trucks delivered dairy products and eggs to folk's front doors.
Image“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

User avatar
pipistrelle
Posts: 8434
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:26 am

Re: Desperation Acres

#30

Post by pipistrelle »

I love milk. And cheese. And butter. And almost all things dairy.

User avatar
Sugar Magnolia
Posts: 11152
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2012 6:44 am

Re: Desperation Acres

#31

Post by Sugar Magnolia »

pipistrelle wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 7:35 pm
I love milk. And cheese. And butter. And almost all things dairy.
And ice cream. You forgot ice cream.

User avatar
Lani
Posts: 5712
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:01 pm
Location: Some island in the Pacific

Re: Desperation Acres

#32

Post by Lani »

I hated being forced to drink glasses of milk every day when I was little. Finally, after I repeated vomited at school and home, I was allowed to only drink half a glass. (The 50's sucked.)

But during the summer I was on the old family farm where I "helped" to milk the cow and churn butter. The taste was so different and yummy. Especially the butter. And the ice cream we cranked out. (Exhausting, but worth it!)

Now I still enjoy butter and some cheeses, but don't drink milk. Cuz I'm grown up and you can't make me drink it! And I love cashew ice cream. I also can whip up yummy french vanilla soy ice cream.

User avatar
Jez
Posts: 2671
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:05 pm
Location: Out there, Somewhere...
Occupation: Thread Killer

Re: Desperation Acres

#33

Post by Jez »

I love ice cream, whipped cream, creamy sauces and soups, yogurt cheese... oh my, the cheese. My brother and father drank, and I think still drink, a ton of milk. Growing up, the parentals had us drink milk at dinner. Like Lani, I got sick every time I did.

It hates me. I'm severely lactose intolerant and regular milks tear me up. There is Lactaid (lactose-free) items which I tolerate well. And hard cheeses aren't too bad for me. Soft/fresh cheeses are a no go. Even taking the Lactaid pills doesn't help much. The stomach cramping is a bit less, but that is about it.

And the soy substitutes are out. Along with cashew and almond milk varieties. Can't stand the oat "milk". So, I pay twice as much for a regular gallon of my lactose-free milk for my cereal and just live with the expense.
I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.

~Khalil Gibran

User avatar
Addie
Posts: 40431
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:22 am
Location: downstairs

Re: Desperation Acres

#34

Post by Addie »

CNN
US farm bankruptcies jump 20% in 2019 despite Trump bailout

Washington (CNN)US farm bankruptcies were up 20% in 2019, despite the billions of dollars in aid President Donald Trump has paid to farmers hurt by the trade war with China.

That's the highest level since 2011, following the Great Recession, according to court data analyzed by the American Farm Bureau.
There were 595 Chapter 12 family farm bankruptcies, nearly 100 more than in 2018, the trade group said.

Trump's trade wars created a lot of uncertainty about markets. Negotiations with Canada and Mexico -- two of US farmers' biggest export markets -- over the rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement went on for more than two years. China retaliated to Trump's tariffs with duties on a range of American farm goods. As a result, exports of soybeans to China nearly stopped for about a year. Prices plunged and a record number of soybeans to piled up in storage.
Adding:
Reuters: U.S. farm bankruptcies hit an eight-year high: court data
"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for." - Barbara Kingsolver

User avatar
Volkonski
Posts: 28424
Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:44 pm
Location: Texas Gulf Coast and North Fork of Long Island
Occupation: Retired Mechanical Engineer

Re: Desperation Acres

#35

Post by Volkonski »

Coronavirus pandemic may have big impacts on farm labor supply this spring

https://riverheadlocal.com/2020/03/18/c ... is-spring/
While questions abound about how the coronavirus pandemic will affect the overall economy, perennially understaffed Long Island farms are scrambling to understand how to cope with a possible shortage of foreign guest workers who may not be able to come in time for the start of the season, as well as how to keep domestic workers safe and free of infection.

“We are really concerned about the many workers that still have not gotten here from the federal programs, such as H2A [a foreign guest worker program for agricultural workers,]” Long Island Farm Bureau administrative director Rob Carpenter said in an interview.

During a typical season, Long Island farms will have a workforce of about 8,000 including foreign and domestic workers, Carpenter said, and added that specific data for how many foreign workers arrive from abroad has not been quantified because they arrive through different programs and visas, but they know it’s “a significant amount.”

Typically foreign workers arrive between mid-March and mid-April and they come from all over the world, including Latin America, Europe and the Far East, Carpenter said.
Image“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

User avatar
Azastan
Posts: 4163
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:42 am

Re: Desperation Acres

#36

Post by Azastan »

Volkonski wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 6:28 am
Coronavirus pandemic may have big impacts on farm labor supply this spring

https://riverheadlocal.com/2020/03/18/c ... is-spring/
While questions abound about how the coronavirus pandemic will affect the overall economy, perennially understaffed Long Island farms are scrambling to understand how to cope with a possible shortage of foreign guest workers who may not be able to come in time for the start of the season, as well as how to keep domestic workers safe and free of infection.

“We are really concerned about the many workers that still have not gotten here from the federal programs, such as H2A [a foreign guest worker program for agricultural workers,]” Long Island Farm Bureau administrative director Rob Carpenter said in an interview.

During a typical season, Long Island farms will have a workforce of about 8,000 including foreign and domestic workers, Carpenter said, and added that specific data for how many foreign workers arrive from abroad has not been quantified because they arrive through different programs and visas, but they know it’s “a significant amount.”

Typically foreign workers arrive between mid-March and mid-April and they come from all over the world, including Latin America, Europe and the Far East, Carpenter said.
People with livestock are already braced for the impact it will have on hay supply, with the attendant cascade of people not being able to afford to keep their animals, which will then get sent to slaughter at prices which don't come anywhere near breaking even. That's not even thinking about produce which humans eat.

User avatar
Volkonski
Posts: 28424
Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:44 pm
Location: Texas Gulf Coast and North Fork of Long Island
Occupation: Retired Mechanical Engineer

Re: Desperation Acres

#37

Post by Volkonski »

Farmers across Europe bank on improvised armies of pickers to save harvest
Growers from Ireland to Spain says coronavirus lockdown has stopped migrant workers from arriving


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/ ... 1585891037
Fruit and vegetable crops in Spain, Italy, France, Germany, the UK and other countries risk rotting in the fields – putrefying testaments to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It won’t be pretty,” said Eamonn Kehoe, a soft fruit specialist with Ireland’s agri-food agency, Teagasc. “If they don’t have the staff it won’t be picked. It’s a nightmare, a perfect storm.”

He was referring to Ireland’s growers, but farmers and agriculture officials across Europe have equally grim warnings about abandoned fields and lost crops unless they can conjure improvised armies of pickers.

Spain, which is the EU’s biggest exporter of fruit and vegetables, is already feeling the impact. “We’re very limited at the moment when it comes to having enough hands to pick and harvest,” said Pedro Barato, the president of Spain’s largest farming association, Asaja.
Image“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

User avatar
Sam the Centipede
Posts: 7751
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 3:25 pm

Re: Desperation Acres

#38

Post by Sam the Centipede »

I've been unhappy about the reliance on migrant workers in developed countries for years. I've no problem with the workers themselves, it's not a race issue or a "they're taking our jobs" issue. I'm grateful for the work they do. I simply feel that national security for any country should include it being able to run its own food production and other basic industries in an effective manner if – for any reason whatsoever – those migrant workers become unavailable.

I understand individual businesses not planning like that, because preparation for the very long term or for unlikely events is difficult when the demands of the short term – this year, next year, perhaps a couple years after – is demanding enough.

But at a national level, it's a government responsility.

User avatar
Volkonski
Posts: 28424
Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:44 pm
Location: Texas Gulf Coast and North Fork of Long Island
Occupation: Retired Mechanical Engineer

Re: Desperation Acres

#39

Post by Volkonski »

A problem is that farm work is not steady. Using the North Fork farms as examples, field hands are most needed in the spring and especially in the fall. In the summer and winter most farm workers have to find other casual employment. In the summer they do casual work (a day here, 2 days there and so on) for landscapers, asphalt driveway layers, construction firms, individual homeowners, etc. In the winter when there is no work for them on the NoFo they head south to find other work or return to their home countries. When unemployment is low like it was just a few weeks ago it would be very hard to get many Americans to adopt such a life style.
Sam the Centipede wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 8:59 am
I've been unhappy about the reliance on migrant workers in developed countries for years. I've no problem with the workers themselves, it's not a race issue or a "they're taking our jobs" issue. I'm grateful for the work they do. I simply feel that national security for any country should include it being able to run its own food production and other basic industries in an effective manner if – for any reason whatsoever – those migrant workers become unavailable.

I understand individual businesses not planning like that, because preparation for the very long term or for unlikely events is difficult when the demands of the short term – this year, next year, perhaps a couple years after – is demanding enough.

But at a national level, it's a government responsibility.
Image“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

User avatar
Sam the Centipede
Posts: 7751
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 3:25 pm

Re: Desperation Acres

#40

Post by Sam the Centipede »

Thanks Volkonski.

Of course those are the reasons why migrant workers fill those roles in (relatively) rich countries. But a government without a plan for possible loss of that labor force for any reason is, in my opinion, negligent in terms of its planning. How to prepare for it? I don't know. I'm not a politician, I don't claim to have the answers. But I'm not convinced that governments have looked at the issue and thought seriously "what could we do to mitigate the effects if this were to happen?"

User avatar
RTH10260
Posts: 25849
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:52 am
Location: Near the Swiss Alps

Re: Desperation Acres

#41

Post by RTH10260 »

Sam the Centipede wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:29 am
Thanks Volkonski.

Of course those are the reasons why migrant workers fill those roles in (relatively) rich countries. But a government without a plan for possible loss of that labor force for any reason is, in my opinion, negligent in terms of its planning. How to prepare for it? I don't know. I'm not a politician, I don't claim to have the answers. But I'm not convinced that governments have looked at the issue and thought seriously "what could we do to mitigate the effects if this were to happen?"
Your current maladministration decided they did not need the pandemic brain trust. They would have had the brains to work out also the economic side effects, not only the health care issues. But capitalism will fix the production and demand sides in a couple of days if not hours :twisted:

User avatar
Sam the Centipede
Posts: 7751
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 3:25 pm

Re: Desperation Acres

#42

Post by Sam the Centipede »

Thanks RTH, it's a more general problem too, not just in the US. I don't know about Switzerland, but Scandinavia certainly has/had a lot of Polish people doing building trade work (painting, carpentry, etc.), also the UK. This reflects a failure to train enough people in these occupations (despite good education systems for arts and sciences), so native tradesmen were difficult to find, slow to come to the job, and expensive. Now these rich countries are back in that position.

I don't know about other countries. I remember being amused about twenty years back at a French electrician saying how he liked working across the border in Germany because the work was not only better paid but also to much higher standards*. But that's probably not a strategic issue. I think rural areas in France and England used to time school vacation periods so the schoolkids would be available for fruit etc. picking at the appropriate harvest times; I don't know if that's true now anywhere.

It has been noted by many people that the workers now holding countries and communities together are in the typically lower paid, lower status ones, not the high earners in glamorous jobs. Nobody is putting out calls for more hedge fund managers, sports commentators, image consultants to make themselves available. It's nurses, cleaners, delivery drivers, shelf stackers, etc.
_______
* Staying in small hotels in France thirty years ago would often reveal very dodgy electrical wiring, all worrying close to leaky plumbing. :o

User avatar
Azastan
Posts: 4163
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:42 am

Re: Desperation Acres

#43

Post by Azastan »

Sam the Centipede wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 4:22 am


It has been noted by many people that the workers now holding countries and communities together are in the typically lower paid, lower status ones, not the high earners in glamorous jobs. Nobody is putting out calls for more hedge fund managers, sports commentators, image consultants to make themselves available. It's nurses, cleaners, delivery drivers, shelf stackers, etc.
One of those Face Book memes making the rounds suggests that people see what jobs are desirable right now, to plan for the future.

I keep pointing out the same thing--the people in demand are those who clean up after people. Those, however, are not the high status jobs, and they are consequently low paying.

Post Reply

Return to “Economy”