Sunday, August 22, 2010
The Downside of Absentee Landowners
Back in the day every farmer owned and operated his quarter section (my "day" was long, long ago and in a different country). But today most farms are a combination of rented and owned land (at $5-7K an acre, it doesn't take long for land ownership to involve some real money). And Chris Clayton, whose thoughts never stray far from business, wonders if the dead zone in the Gulf isn't related to the renting. (Actually, the dead zone is my attempt to amp up the significance.) He and his family float down a river and see corn and soybeans planted with no filter strip bordering the river, consequently nitrogen, phosphorus and top soil fall into the river, thence to be flushed down past New Orleans to the Gulf. His guess is that the farmers were renting and going for max production, not worried at all about the land.