The Tragedy Of The American Farmer, Revealed In A Craiglist "For Sale" Post

Not so long ago, US farmland - whose prices were until recently rising exponentially - was considered by many to be the next asset bubble. Then, almost overnight, the fairytale ended, and as reported in February, US farmland saw its first price drop since 1986.


But nobody has had it as bad as the US farmer, whose visions of fame and fortune have sadly gone up in a cloud of methanol smoke. Perhaps nothing captures the lives of quiet modern gothic desperation led by America's farmer than the following Craigslist posting about a Disk Ripper for sale.



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Disk Ripper for sale - $8900

Back when corn was trading at $6, I thought it'd be a good idea to buy an overpriced used disk ripper at retail dealership prices. Continuous corn was going to make everyone rich anyway, and I needed something to deal with the thick stover and stalk residue. Besides that, the neighbors had just bought a new one, and I figured I needed to get one too. With $350 DDGs, $450 soybean meal, $18 beans and $7 corn in 2012, it was looking like I had made a good decision. So I tore up the pastures, ripped out the fencelines, and almost convinced my wife to plant corn in our front yard.

But on the pedagogic scale of great ideas that just didn't seem to work out, this idea will probably end up ranking somewhere between "urinating directly onto an electric fence" and "sticking my hand into the baler to clear out the jam"......... I don't mean to suggest that it was a total failure, however, because the character building lessons of defeat have proven inordinately profitable over the years. And this one certainly had its share of lessons - financial and otherwise.

Anyway, as the alcohol-induced corn boom (ethanol) violently turned to bust, un-pleasant realities of that mystical numberland called "Finance" started to appear. Turns out that the banker actually wants his money back WITH interest! I couldn't believe it.......... I had gotten so used to the government's farm welfare programs when corn was $2 that I almost forgot how markets and financing was supposed to work! Direct payments would just magically appear in my checking account, and I was one of the best at playing the LDP game. And then when corn was $6-7, it didn't matter what the banker said, because I couldn't wake up without money falling into my hands from the corn gods in Chicago!

But now, with negative margins and stubbornly expensive inputs, I need to sell this piece of equipment. It is a used 7 shank M&W 1875 disk ripper. It has the auto-resets, which is nice. As you can see in the pics, there is no harrow on the back to level out the ridges. You might think that's a bad thing, but I've found that a particularly rough field keeps the trespassers, hunters, poachers, snowmobilers, and meth lab junkies out of the field during the winter. It is in good working condition. The paint is faded which is also a good thing, because then the neighbors won't get too jealous when you go by their new shop. It's been kept outside for as long as I've owned it because only the really expensive toys get put inside. If you drive by Vetter or Van Wall, you'll notice that pretty much all of their inventory is kept outside too, so I don't feel bad about it.

I think $8,900 is a fair price. But if you want to pay more, then that's fine too......... My goodness! Dec corn got slaughtered yesterday...... down another 20 cents after the Planting Intentions report....... Let's make it $8,500 and everyone goes home a winner!