Friday, April 27, 2012

wheat, corn, taxes

If you look at my blog very often, you know I have a small grain farm, which no one lives on, it's all farmed.  From the air the area is a little like this, but with not so many green (irrigation) circles, in our area not nearly so many sections are irrigated.  In my area all the well permits are used, with rare exceptions, no more can be added to preserve water for the future.  Each of those circles are a quarter mile across.  A section (a one mile square) is 640 acres, a quarter section is what I have, 160 acres.  The irrigation wheel can wet almost 130 acres, the corners, 7 to 10 acres I guess, are dry.  We rotate, but most years the corners are wheat, under the irrigation wheel it can be anything fit for this climate.  The last 4 years we did corn, soybean, corn, soybean and last weekend we planted corn again.  Further back we did other crops.  The well pumps 705 gallon a minute, and we have a permit for 1.3 acre feet per year, or equal to about 15" of rain over the 160 acre.  Thats a lot since it is watered only when needed, if we get a rain, or weather is mild, we don't sprinkle.
Now I have written about this before, about how there is damn near nothing to do to be a grain farmer in America.  Each time someone gets riled up and writes me a nasty gram, claiming I don't know shit about it, its hard work.  Well again, I will explain how much work it is today with mechanized farming practices and a whole industry developed to do bits and pieces of it for you.  So, not necessarily in order here it is:  call the co-op and have them send out the giant spider truck and dump chemicals on the earth, do that 2 or 3 times each year.....hire a custom planter that will pick up the seed, plant it in a few hours at prices you cannot compete with by owning your own drill, tractor, and by and turn on the sprinkler, or do it from the computer.......hire a custom cutter to cut the grain and haul it........get your old tractor out of storage and spend a day turning the ground........check the grain price on the computer......put in a sell check.  Do you feel sorry for me yet?  It wasn't like this until a few years ago when all these services popped up and tractors and combines got to costing more than a house.  If I had a lot more land, it might, just might, be cheaper to own my own equipment like my father and father-in-law did years ago, but now, around here, we are becoming arm chair farmers.
This is just if you are farming grain on flat land.  Cattle, pigs, fruit, that would be more work.

This arm chair farming is one of the multiple reasons for the farmland price bubble.  For the last 2 years the price of farmland goes to new heights every time a piece sells.  The fact that any and all of the jobs in grain farming can be done cheaply by small firms is drawing speculators and corporations into farming in large numbers, they never have to go near the place.  Will the bubble pop?  Maybe, but when?  High grain prices and record high farm profits are drawing non-farmer speculators like moths to a Buick's headlights.  Texas and much of Oklahoma and southwest Kansas have dried up, killed dead by global warming, land to the north and east rocket up in value.  Iowa a few months ago saw a small farm go for 10k an acre, land here is no where near that, but I wish.  T Boone Pickens  has made farming in Texas and Oklahoma panhandle and southwest Kansas harder by buying up water rights, piping that water off to cities for sale, they can't grow much but wheat and grass without water, adding to value of irrigated lands in other areas.  Grain is a world market now like oil.  We read the papers hoping for hail in Brazil, drought in Russia, fires in Texas, wars in middle east, floods in South Africa, the UN to buy grain for Bangladesh, anything to reduce supply and increase demand and hold the prices high if our grain makes it to market.

Now on to taxes in Kansas,  well gop brownback is about settled on what future taxes will be, they wanted to get rid of income tax all together but they are leaning now to get rid of tax on non wages only.  Seems fair to me, fucking middle class and poor don't even have farms and stocks and bonds to make non wage income, it's not fair to be taxed on something the poor don't have.  Yea thats it, we are paying taxes on farm profits, business profits, dividends, cap gains, and they don't, its free ride for them.  Thats the thinking  they use.   .......  I shit you not thats it......  So they haven't got the numbers complete but it looks like the state will fall another couple hundred million shorter if they make this fair thing the law.  Well most the librarians and school nurses are already laid off, lots of music and foreign language teachers to, but I think if we get rid of the few left, cut a few more professors out of the state colleges that could help, we are closing all the courts in the state every few days for a day, we could add more, also the dmv closed for a week, lets do a month, hell they register voters in there, they may close them till Nov. 3rd.   Brownback said if we cut the tax on non wage earnings, it will mean thousands of new jobs.  I don't know how, the couple hundred dollars it could save me will go right into savings for retirement, what am I going to do, buy a new suit, shit, and if you think the grocery store is going to hire another check out guy with their savings your nuts, that money goes out of state to the company that sells self checkout machines.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I deleted the comment which missed the point with a totally off the wall comment, I suspect they only looked at the title and did not read more. But the real reason I deleted it was the blogger was actually a tax service, if you followed them back to their site it was an advertisement, or a PR stunt for the GOP bitching about high taxes, I don't know which, because it was not direct and I wasn't wasting time at a business oriented site.

    1. Darrel,
      Delete comments that do not relate to the subject of the blog post at will.

      I know nothing of farming but I have long ago realized that once you retire that you and the wife need to leave Kansas.



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