Sep 23, 2017 08:00 AM
Grain farms reflect farmland ownership, more than farm economics. It’s really hard to operate huge farms in the absence of huge landholdings. We had a recent example. A landowner with a modest farm dies, and being without children, she leaves her acreage to 5 nephews. It took extraordinary effort from the one nephew who was farming the land to buy out or rent the other four shares. This disaggregation occurs constantly across farm country. Most grain farm acres are rented, not owned. When owners change, the operator often changes too. So not only does ownership fracture, tenancy is up for grabs. Also, my impression is big operations don’t have longer lifespans than smaller farms either. Big Time Operators come and go.