Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Foresight

Thirty years ago I was the same age as my youngest daughter. My father was the same age as I am now. It was the height of federal government lending to farmers. Money was almost free. There was a catch. You had to get big. The money was not available for small farmers. Land prices rose. Farm implement dealers sprung up everywhere.

My father wouldn't take the money. He didn't believe he could make it work as a larger farm. Money for small farmers was tight. My parents couldn't even get a credit card for much of my childhood. They had claimed bankruptcy earlier in their marriage and lost one farm. The first time around they had their first baby hospitalized and the medical bills ate them up. This was their second go at it. He had a much more conservative attitude about farming this time.

It was frustrating to watch the local farmers buy more land and get new machinery. Swimming pools and satellite dishes started springing up on all those farms as well. New boats and cabins on the lake were the norm for these farmers. A bad year just meant you went back to the bank and borrowed more money. It should come as a surprise to no one that successful farming requires discipline and foresight. There is little discipline in a farmer that can keep borrowing money.

As is wont to happen, bubbles crash. Milk prices dropped. Actually, they fell off a cliff. Things got tough for us, but things got ugly for the big farmers. The payments caught up to them and bankruptcies came in a hurry. My parents managed to sell their farm over time to their youngest son (not me). It was a very fair price and a fair deal for my brother. Now my parents are in their 70s and can afford to buy a brand new $40k car. They travel when and where they want to. They see their grandchildren all the time. Meanwhile their peers that went big on the farm loans are no where close to the same lifestyle.

There are a couple of things to take from this, but the biggest is for men to understand that politicians and banksters don't have your best interests at heart. Please read The Return of the Great Depression. If you understand TPTB's motivations, you have a better chance of surviving.

2 comments:

  1. A former roommate of mine grew up on a farm and had no compassion for all the struggling farmers (mid to late 1980s) for the very reasons you noted. He didn't mention swimming pools, but did not lots of wasted money on fancy tractors and such. He felt they dug their own pit.

    I grew up in the suburbs, so my direct experience in the area was limited, but I put a lot of credence in his views.

    I have found people largely reap what they sow, even if it is delayed a while.

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  2. If one decides farmers had it coming then home owners, stock investors, and college loan recipients had it coming too. I'm not saying they should or shouldn't have known better; I'm saying the banksters and politicians are the charlatans. Not everyone is smart enough to understand history. Those of us that are intelligent need to protect those that aren't.

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