Guest Post: The Smartest Investment Of The Decade

Tyler Durden's picture

Via Simon Black of Sovereign Man blog,

Here’s something crazy to think about.

Roughly 200,000 people were born today. That’s net world population growth, births minus deaths.

Each one of them constitutes a new mouth to feed. And when they come of age, those 200,000 people will consume, conservatively, about 1,250 Calories per day. Collectively, that’s 91.25 billion Calories per year for the entire 200,000 people that were born today.

Where will they get that food from?

Consider that a cup of rice contains about 300 Calories. An average annual rice harvest yields about 150 bushels per acre, or about 6.7 million Calories per acre of rice grown each year.

In very simple terms, it will take 13,600 acres of cultivated, producing rice land to generate the necessary Calories to feed the 200,000 people that were born today. That’s roughly the size of Manhattan.

Tomorrow, another 13,600 acres will be required to feed the people born tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after that.

This is a conservative estimate. Obviously people eat other things besides rice. Corn has an even lower caloric yield per acre. And as people move up the food chain into dairies and meats, the amount of Calories per acre takes a huge nosedive.

Across Asia in particular, hundreds of millions of people are now being lifted out of abject poverty and into the middle class. As I’ve traveled around the world to more than 100 countries, I’ve seen this with my own eyes– people having disposable income for the first time ever.

As people’s individual wealth levels increase, their dietary habits tend to change as well. Suddenly they start consuming more expensive foods… ‘luxury’ foods like beef. And by comparison, beef yields only about 1.1 million Calories per acre.

Simultaneous to the rapid increase in demand for food, the world is also experiencing a declining trend in supply. Water shortages, loss of topsoil, weather disasters, land development, and insane government policy are all contributing to tightening food supplies.

Perhaps most importantly, though, is the effect of monetary policy. Central bankers around the world continue to print more money. That’s all they know how to do, as if the path to prosperity is paved with paper currency conjured out of thin air.

All of those trillions of dollars, euros, yen, and renminbi end up somewhere… and such monetary inflation has been a huge force in driving up food prices. In fact, just over the last few years, we’ve seen record prices from corn to wheat to sugar to ground beef to milk.

Increasing demand. Tightening supply. Destructive policy. All of these point to a long-term trend in food. And the trend is enormous. The best case scenario is steep food prices. The worst case scenario is severe shortages.

This makes agriculture probably THE place to be over the next ten years, perhaps seconded only by shorting major currencies like the dollar, euro, and yen.

There are a number of ways to invest in agriculture… ETFs, futures, food production companies, agriculture equipment companies, food technology companies, etc. But in my view, there is no better way to make a long-term agricultural investment than owning high quality, productive land.

Like owning physical gold, farmland gives you not only the financial upside of rising agricultural prices, but also the personal assurance of a guaranteed food supply.

Later this week, I’d like to discuss different places in the world where it makes sense to own farmland. Some of my recommendations may surprise you.

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cossack55's picture

Go long Monsanto and cancer medicines

krispkritter's picture

And 200,000 of my brains cells died after reading this. I think most committed suicide...

TruthInSunshine's picture

Simon Black is posting this from his solar powered, self-made smart phone from his disease-free, self-sustaining, love&sunflowers only, tax free paradise of an island somewhere in the Caribbean, with concubine made fresh & delicious piña colada in one hand.'s picture

When the Pastoral Symphony kicks in at the end of the clip it sets up a nice contrast to the state of Heston's world. Would liked to have heard it play out.

MillionDollarBogus_'s picture

"...Water shortages, loss of topsoil, weather disasters, land development, and insane government policy are all contributing to tightening food supplies..."

He recommends buying farmland.

Then he mentions water shortages.

That's like recommending buying silver....paper silver....SLV...


Big Slick's picture

When MDB finds holes in your logic, it's time to re-think the message

Big Slick's picture

Wait!  You're not the real MDB!!

MillionDollarBogus_'s picture

How do we know you are the real BS..??

Tippoo Sultan's picture

"High-quality, productive" farmland, eh ?

Are you, perchance, familiar with Kelo v. New London ? How long will "productive" land be "allowed" in private hands, in the face of a burgeoning "public need ?"

Ignatius's picture

I'm planting fruit trees... and it's not a 'hobby'.

GottaBKiddn's picture









Farmland?? Good luck getting that past Agenda 21.








wahrheit's picture

Touche, well-said.  If he was doing it right it'd be on a floating island of discarded barges with a small fleet of like-minded superhuman sovereigns a la L. Bob Rife's Raft

machineh's picture

Roughly 200,000 people were born today. That’s net world population growth, births minus deaths.

Nope. 360,000 people were born today. 160,000 died. Equals 200,000 net world population growth.

How's your financial math? 

viahj's picture

"growth"...yeah you picked his glaring mistake and proved your supremacy

Lohn Jocke's picture

High rent as an input cost is a contributor to higher prices. As are high deisel, seed, and fertilizer costs, offsetting the high prices of crops and keeping a tight margin.  

At current land priced relative to rent and productions based on cash crops in any particular area, you wouldn't make a profit for 15 years.

This guy doesn't know what he's talking about. Long guns and ammo.

Poor Grogman's picture

The one thing that most arm chair investors forget about farm land is that it comes with a certain nasty little secret.

This is called " farm work"

So unless you are good friends with the tooth fairy or can get trustworthy labour at a moments notice, or are prepared to let someone else pocket most of the meagre returns in return for their labour.

Then either prepare for a rude shock or don't bother...

MachoMan's picture

There are quite a few really, really good farmers and they're not hard to find if you have the right contacts...  yields are on file, so it's not like the next guy is going to be able to run off with very much...  and you can always inspect harvest...

As someone living in the state where most of the nation's rice is grown and milled, it's my opinion that farm prices are incredibly bublicious.  However, we're a bit different in that we actually have water tables...  as compared to midwestern corn ground that is subject to drought.  This year, on corn ground, you had a lot of crop rent landlords make 10%+.  Drought is only a problem when you don't have irrigation (although it does affect yields depending on the growth cycle of the plant).

China and yankees are piling in here...  dumping dollars.


Poor Grogman's picture

How is that ROI split between capital appreciation and actual profit?

I know some "investor farmers" who just happened to nail the market and did really well for their first few years, basically mocking conventional farmers for being too conservative.

Those same folks now claim that it is "impossible" to make money in farming, but after pouring everything they have got into it, they now have the farming bug and won't sell up, go figure?

In Australia the joke goes, You ask a farmer what he would do if he won the lottery, and he replies "Oh just keep farming till it's all gone".

That pretty much sums it up...

TruthInSunshine's picture

No, no, no...

They have roomba-like, GPS guided and information fed planting and combine automated equipment now.

No work involved.



Lohn Jocke's picture

@Machoman, clearly coming from Arkansas, (trading grain there this harvest season myself) which did in fact see absurd yields, particularly on corn, but the rice milling yields look like a poopy flavored lolipop.

We agree that it's a bubble, I would also advise that you keep in mind irrigation can't lower the temperature, so if you're pollenating and it's 115 degrees out, it doesn't matter how much water you put on those plants. they're cooked.

Farm land prices are toppy.

MachoMan's picture

Very true, but the other issue is that crops were planted so early, this is not much of a risk...  seems to be a long term trend as well...  if we keep going at this rate, we'll be able to get 2 growing seasons in...

But yeah, everyone is subject to other weather conditions.  It's just that comparatively, all things considered, abundant water can mitigate a lot of mother nature's fury...  not all, but a substantial portion.

e_goldstein's picture

Short term problem. Soon enough the land will be ripe with serfs willing to till your land for you. 
However, they will want a hovel to stay in, most of the crop, and 'protection' from other serfs and mauraders. 

akak's picture


The one thing that most arm chair investors forget about farm land is that it comes with a certain nasty little secret.

This is called " farm work"

What, there's no app for that?

Screw that shit!

If I can't do it on my iPhone, then it obviously isn't worth doing at all.

Poor Grogman's picture

Typical attitude of American Citizenism....

wahrheit's picture

Good point but while you have income from other sources, if you can just secure the land it's reassuring in the event of a grid-fall scenario.  You can also rent out your land to ranchers to graze their cows.  Some guy I ran into said he owns 250 acres and to get the state agricultural property tax cut, he did just that.  It wasn't like he was using all of it.

wahrheit's picture

There are also things like "community", "neighbors" and "children"

There's a family in LA that does urban farming on 1/10th of an acre.  Sure, it's a lot of work, but no one said freedom was free.

Poor Grogman's picture

Farming has the potential to be the very best lifestyle imaginable.
It's a shame in today's world that it can be taxed regulated and over-controlled while you are forced to sell to monopoly cartels who name their price for your product.

It might have been JFK who said that farmers were the only people who buy retail, and sell wholesale, and pay the freight both ways.

Farming can give you more freedom than many other activities provided that you have enough capital to not be under control of your friendly bankers. Having said that it is still only partial freedom, and will continue to be while we have any form of government fees that are required to be paid in fiat currency.

Break the monopoly of government fiat, and then you will see some freedom.

Karlus's picture

Yes, and unless you can do this in massive scale, you will get destroyed. Go look at who is an independent farmer with 10 acers or less. Unless you are doing something along the lines of a pig farm, chickens or some specialty crop good luck.

Agree, the author has an interesting point, but does not know what he is talking about. Its like giving you a typewriter and telling you that you have everything you need to write Lord of the Rings...

MachoMan's picture

so you're supposed to be able to make a permanent living off of a ~$40-80k investment?  That's a helluva return.

PS, you can make an incredible living off that many acres if you properly implement vertical farming in the right market.  But it takes more ingenuity than most folks who declare themselves farmers and pray to put food on the table.

Cow's picture

The rent is too damn high!

AgLand's picture

NOT all good farmland is in the US, and comes with US prices.

I know from personal experience. ;-)

samcontrol's picture

cool, me think more than one of you should be contacting me iN Argentina, if not Zhers are all talk. Farmland in South America is the no brainer play of the last decade and the next..

OpenEyes's picture

FUCK Monsanto!  And the Genetically Modified Oganism they rode in on!

Cathartes Aura's picture

those are genius - bookmarked!

Lohn Jocke's picture

Open your eyes. We have been selectively breeding and splicing agricultural plants and animals since we first started domesticating. We could text GMOs on cancer prone rats, or we can feed GMOs to 98% of all the livestock in the country for 20 years with no signs of cancer anywhere.

Get a clue.

akak's picture

Open your eyes. Governments and oligarchical control structures have been selectively breeding and splicing human cattle for docility and abject acquiescence since they first started domesticating them circa 10,000 BC. They could test liberty on the diminishing freedom-prone minority, or they can feed self-serving statist fear and propaganda to 98% of all the human livestock in the world for 2000 years with no signs of the cancer of self-awareness and self-liberation anywhere.

Get a clue.

Lohn Jocke's picture

I agree wholeheartedly with that assessment. Why oh why didn't I take the blue pill?


I still assert that most people are vastly misinformed or uninformed on GMOs.

wahrheit's picture

Unless you and akak are both trolling (wouldn't be surprised), selectively modifying genes themselves is completely different from selecting from the results of the natural breeding process.  When scientists first mapped out the human genome, they were expecting to find the gene for this and the gene for that so that they could selectively remove and reorder genes.  What they ended up observing is that one gene is connected to a number of, say, different and disparate metabolic processes, thus making the hackneyed switcheroo concept of gene splicing and such an ineffectual procedure.  So, by knocking out a gene that's observed to be connected with leukemia, they might also knock out something that strengthens the immune system.

I assert that most GMO manufacturers are either aware of this and are doing this out of malicious intent, or are just vastly misinformed about the long-term results of what they are doing.

GottaBKiddn's picture

Clearly, some people find it easier to talk about biology than studying it. Gene splicing is a relatively new technology.

Miss Expectations's picture

John, I found a picture of your cow:

(I recognize that it's a bull, but they call 'em super cows.  Here's to always going too far.

overbet's picture

Look at things like MSG. It is in some way in most processed foods (everything non organic) and it is proven to make you hungry and fat. Selling food that keeps you hungary because it lacks nutrition and you want to buy more because you are starving for nutrition. It causes heatlh problems and that sells meds. And everything causes cancer. Its a big mess.

californiagirl's picture

Speaking of clueless . . .pull you head out of the sand (I am being polite)

Selectively breeding and hybridizing plants with plants and cows with cows, is completely different than forcing genes from a virus, bacteria or insect into a plant or animal, completely unrelated organisms that would never cross in nature.  The spider goats are an excellent example.  Under what senario would a goat and spider cross without genetic engineering by human beings?

No Cancer and other problems from feeding animals GMO's?  All you have to do is search google and you will come up with hundreds of studies showing problems from aroudn the world.  To get you started, take a look at some horizontal gene transfer info in these few articles.  There are plenty more.  Eat a GMO, Become a GMO.  NO THANK YOU!

Until recently it was thought that DNA ingested as part of food would rapidly be broken down by the stomach juices and digestive enzymes of the gut. Since there have been several studies proving otherwise. In an FSA study conducted at Newcastle University, volunteers (people) were fed one meal comprising of a GMO soy veggie burger and a GMO soy milkshake. DNA uptake by the gut bacteria was found in three of the volunteers after only one GM meal. Glad I don't live in GMO farming country and eat organic whenever possible.

Article about Newcastle Study:

Download this interesting research by typing into google: "horizontal gene transfer of viral inserts citeseerx" and select the first item PDf) that comes up. Couldn't find a direct link that is free.

In another study, Bt DNA (cry1Ab gene) was found in detectable quantities in rivers close to GMO cornfields. About 1% of the initial amount of DNA still survived in the aquatic sediment samples after 40 days. The half life was about a week.  So those consuming the water near GMO fields are likely consuming the Bt transgene. In addition, it seems to survive in the soil and has been found after winter, before planting the next crop.

General Info:

Cauliflower Mosaic Viral Promoter:   and

CaMV 35S promoter fragmentation hotspot confirmed, and it is active in animals:


DaveyJones's picture

got another anti GMO commercial I want to run by you. Opens with acoustic guitar and a sunrise on supermarket glass. through the glass, a young store manager is talking with another young product placement rep. The two are talking shop but obviously get along and are talking outside shop as well. In comes a young coroporate looking type who introduces himself as the new gmo placement rep. He's trying desperately to be cool but also seems paranoid. He starts scanning the aisles and immediately shakes his head. He pulls out the cell phone and calls the office but you can't hear what he says. you then see him grab a product, pull out a competing product and hide it behind the other. HE continues to do this with multiple products using different methods to hide them from view. As he does this, the other two give each other the psycho glance. He then comes upon a twenty five pound of dog foods and starts to panic. He tries to shove it behind a display board then jogs down the aisle and looks back. He whips out the phone and hear him say. No sir, I can still see it. He repeats this until he's outside. I can still see it sir. He looks increasingly panicked until he finally says are you sure, well it is my first day. Thank you sir. Then gets in his car and drives off. Camera cuts back in to the two who say insane. Yeah definitely insane and the music drifts back in. THen a caption to the effect of Their argument makes no sense.                

californiagirl's picture

That could be interesting. All the products being hidden should say Organic or Non-GMO in large letters on them. Not only does their argument not make sense, but why so afraid of organics if there is no real difference between their modified products and non-GMOs. Not sure how to word that. However, it is the main excuse you hear to justify no long-term GMO testing, as if just making that statement somehow creates a fact. The packaging of the Non-GMO product should he bright, energetic and happy (healthy). The GMO packaging can be boring or dreary (sickly), for visual impact.

JohnG's picture

They'll find a way to get rid of all those useless eaters.