Why Jim Rogers Is Wrong About Learning To Drive A Tractor
I love Jim Rogers. His views on investing are reasoned, practical and more often than not… RIGHT ON THE MONEY.
If you follow him, commodities are the coming trend. And farming products are at the heart of coming commodities boom.
The reason commodities are the coming trend, is that paper assets have been on a tear for many, many decades.
Most of the rich who went down on the Titanic were rich by producing commodities in their business efforts. After they died, the world went into a paper money system. And that began the rise of paper assets. Real commodities now had to compete with pure paper in to catch the twinkle of the investor’s eye.
Jim Rogers’ message is that paper assets in the future will not be as valued as hard assets. Thus… he says stockbrokers today should learn to drive a tractor.
Here is one of his interviews. In it he again says driving at tractor will be a valued skill.
MY OPINION: Farming? Yes. Driving a tractor? Not so much.
I’m here to tell you that Jim Rogers is wrong. Learning to drive a tractor can lead you down the wrong path when it comes to farming.
A “tractor mindset” leads to farming that produces poor yields. It’s not uncommon to hear of “tractor” farmers making some $200 to $300 per acre.
But if you get rid the tractor… and instead farm using only hand tools, you can make up to $100,000 per acre. The secret is not only growing the food, but growing your customer base using “direct marketing” methods.
What’s the difference?
Tractors abuse the land. With a tractor, you deplete the soil with erosion. Depleted soil gives you weak crops. Weak crops need pesticides. And… Herbicides to kill the weeds. Pesticides and herbicides give you dead worms. Dead bees. Dead small critters that are vital to the health of complete cycle of good food and a good life.
Have you noticed over the years that most store bought flour doesn’t go bad, no matter how long you leave it on the shelf? It’s because tractor farmers spray the grains with nasty stuff that kills living things. Do you want to eat that junk?
Have you noticed that, given a choice, not even the dogs will eat a fast-food hamburger left on the sidewalk. What do dogs know that we don’t?
The quality of our food is important. And tractors don’t cut it.
There is a reason “organic” food is a growing trend.
A tractor farmer needs a thousand acres to plow up to make any real money. But the future is not in ripping up the soil to plant your crops. The future is in feeding the soil and treating it as if your future depends on it.
Tractors need big farms. But if you get rid of the tractor, you can do quite well on just an acre or two. Yes it will be more work. But the rewards will be richer too.
Even if you have a large spread… it would be better to be a “grass farmer”. Grass farming doesn’t need tractors. Grass farmers can make some $2,000 to $3,000 per acre per year.
And don’t think that grass farmers sell grass. (Some do, it’s called alphafa.)
Instead… of selling the grass, Grass farmers generally raise grass to feed cattle, chickens, etc.
Joel Salatin is a perfect example of a “grass farmer” who makes a nice living selling meat. And he doesn’t kill the worms, microbes, small critters, etc. His worms etc. are happy on his farm.
And his meat products taste better than meat from a factory farm where all the cows are crowded into a small space… poop everywhere and you’ve got to feed them tons of grains.
Grass feed beef on a “grass farm” is mouth watering.
OK… back to tractors.
Tractors compact the soil. Guess what? Plants and worms and microbes love non-compacted soil that lets the roots and everything grow all over. Tractors demand you grow in narrow rows… based on the settings of your plow spacing. If you farm by hand, you can grow in wide beds, thus growing more crops per square foot.
Tractor farmers only get one crop a year. Farming by hand, you can get up to seven crops per year with the right planning, composting and timing.
Tractors are the image of farming. And have been for many years. But you don’t need to farm with a tractor. You don’t need a big spread. You just need a digging fork. You just need a wheel barrow to haul the compost around. You just need a farmer’s fork to spread the straw and manure around.
Don’t listen to Jim Rogers. Don’t learn to “drive a tractor”. Instead learn how to encourage the growth of earthworms, microbes, grass, and natural veggies.
Here is a good place to start:
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