If farmers aren’t rich yet, they will be. That’s the prediction from internationally known investor and business author Jim Rogers.
Rogers has been a fan of farmers and agricultural commodities for many years. "I am extremely optimistic about agriculture. First people thought I was nuts when I first started telling people to buy farmland, then they thought I was nuts, now they are trying to buy it too."
He believes that even though commodity prices have reached historic levels the past few years, they will continue going up, at least for a while.
"Even though demand has been going up for a long time, we are still consuming as much as we are producing," he says. "The 3 billion people in Asia have seen TV how we live in the U.S. and want to live that way now. Before this is over, prices of all agricultural products around the world will go higher."
Rogers, who was raised in Alabama, now lives in Singapore. He predicts Asian countries, such as China, will be the global economic leaders in the future.
He also believes they will hold the best investment options. "I don’t want to have many assets in the U.S. I am a U.S. citizen, but I think in the future there may be laws that keep you from taking money in or out of the U.S."
Huge Money-Making Potential
Rogers says, if you are going to keep assets in the U.S., farmland is the best option. "Farmland is a great way to preserve your wealth and increase your wealth, if you can stay with it."
Even with farmland sales topping $20,000 per acre, he doesn’t believe the market is in a bubble. But, you won't see him at Midwestern land auctions dropping that kind of cash.
Instead, he says there are greater profits to be made buying land in other parts of the world, such as Paraguay, Africa and other developing nations. "Percentage gains will be higher in other countries than the U.S., he says.
Rogers says if the U.S. continues to have large debt issues, which is likely, agriculture will become more and important. "When a currency declines, the people who have real assets are the ones that make money. If the dollar collapses, one of the few ways you’ll be able to reserve you wealth, and even make money, is through productive farmland."
An Aging Workforce
Rogers says the only reason he is nervous about agriculture’s outlook is that America’s farmers are growing older. Currently, the average age of U.S. farmers is 57, a number that has been steadily rising for two decades.
Even with technological advancements, Rogers is worried about the future. "Somebody has to be in the fields, even if it is a robot driving your tractor," he says. "Someone has to tell the tractor what to do. Unless we do something about getting manpower into agriculture, eventually we run out of food."
He encourages young people to consider a career in farming, if for no other reason, the money-making potential. "The stock brokers are going to be the ones driving taxis in the future, and the farmers are going to be the ones driving Lamborghinis."
Learn more about Rogers’ life and investment advice in this interview with Forbes:
For More Information
Read about Roger's connection to Farm Journal: A Lifetime Connection to Agriculture
Who Are Agriculture’s Most Influential People?
High Crop Prices Drive Northwest Missouri Farmers Out of Conservation Program