Originally Posted by iammatt
I think that is also right, but I don't for a second believe that subsidies are the reason that we have modern farming and ranching methods. I think they help define what the producers look like, but there is a limit as to how much food per acre can be produced using traditional farming and ranching.
The PIC program (that was the acronym, right?) put my grandparents out of business in the 80's. I'm not lamenting that too much, things change.
But you may remember farmers being paid not to farm in the late 70's early 80's to manage supply. Whole farms went fallow... so the support businesses, like my families' that sold grain bins, harvesters etc... were driven out of business because their customers no longer needed them. So in central Nebraska, it started a process by which the land of many of these small farms were bought up... and in the mid 80's returned to farming as much larger operations (talking grains here). But there were 1) no longer any local business to sell and service their equipment, tractors etc... and besides, the farms, the low prices, and the market demands meant that the combines they sold, etc were too small and inefficient to clear 800 acres fast enough anyway.
So in lands CAT with the next generation of massive harvesters with double the width, early navigation controls and other equipment that greatly "improved" the harvest time.
What nobody predicted? These newer "large" farms didn't have the capital to replace their 30 year old combine with a $400,000 combine. (Which, by the way, impacted some of the "gypsy" harvesters. Farmers who gave up their own operations to follow the harvest with their combine and trucks to be hired by small farmers... only these mom and pop shops couldn't afford the new equipment and funny thing, it was also too big to take on the road).
So they then sold to larger operations with the ability to borrow more capital... and so on and so on...
Not to mention the crap economics of the 80's: http://blog.alextiller.com/BlogRetri...9&PostID=54343