Economics and Farmland Prices Dominated Conference
Africa is three times the size of the U.S. including Alaska and three times China, too. “The important thing to remember is that Africa is not a country, it is 54 incredibly unique, incredibly different countries with very, very different risk return projections.”
China is getting involved in Africa and South America to rent or own land, establish processing industries or develop marketing agreements. The majority of the focus is in South America at the moment but will shift to Africa. In 2010, an estimate was that 1 million Chinese were in Africa, and today the estimate is 1 ½ million. “China is not doing much in the way of direct massive large-scale investment at the moment in Africa, but I think that will change.”
If you look out 50 years, North America and Europe will be “increasingly irrelevant to the overall program” of international ag products supply.
Advanced technology development and adoption is the way that the U.S. and Canadian ag sectors will stay competitive for export. Improved infrastructure is also a major need. “We have to continue to push the technology that the West has been so good at developing to stay competitive.”
MIKE DOTZOUR, CHIEF ECONOMIST, REAL ESTATE CENTER AT TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
Mike Dotzour Land investment still looks like a solid investment when compared to the return on savings and fluctuations in the stock market, and definitely better than buying gold because you won’t see land prices drop 40 percent in two years as could happen with gold. “One of your worst nightmares, if you own a bunch of gold, is if Congress comes in and starts to balance the budget over a five-to-10-year period. I would rather own 160 acres of very high priced farmland than 160-acres worth of gold.”
No matter who is in the office of President or in Congress, the “incompetence in Washington” will limit the economic growth of the country. Until tax policy is straightened out, the economy is only going to grow at an anemic level of about 2 percent a year, that being in spite of Congress instead of with its help.
Donald Fisher (left), ARA, Pomeroy Appraisal Assoc., Inc., was presented the Appraisal Professional of the Year award by John Reynolds, ARA, RPRA of Rabo AgriFinance. Japan cannot print enough money to get their economy going again. By the end of 2012 Japan will probably have a national debt of $1 quadtrillion, and their debt is 200 percent to gross domestic product and getting bigger. But their interest rates are lower than ours, and they haven’t had any inflation since 1989.