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6 months ago

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So.... I live in North Western Wisconsin. For the past 3 weeks I've watched a 35 acre plot of woods, be clear cut, and the stumps pulled out of the ground. The wood has been removed, but the stumps are in wind rows that I expect will be burned in the near future. I've been told by a friend who is a Professor Emeritus of Forestry that this is probably at least a $2,000 per acre effort.

So... they are creating new farm land that didn't exist before. Is this a logical way to create new farm land??? The cost concerns me.

NoraWI says 2017-06-11 08:34:15 (CST)



I am located in southwestern Wisconsin. Your description of what is being done to that 35 acres really bothers me. I don't think we need more farmland. We just need to put existing farmland to the right use. A lot of it is lying fallow on once-upon-a-time farms that have now been bought by non-resident owners who use it as recreational land. For years I have watched owners try to convert land to inappropriate use... woods clear cut for farmland, farmland planted to trees, swamps drained for cultivation, land flooded for cranberry production. Why not just buy the right kind of land for the use one has in mind? This greatly puzzles me...


6 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2017-06-11 21:07:26 (CST)



Nora is exactly right: On US Farm report this weekend it was stated that American farmers produce way above domestic consumption and that export markets are badly needed. Increasing Brazilian and Argentinian production is also making it harder for our producers of corn and soy beans. Of course, like Charlie Tennessen made it clear in his excellent exposition in the RH magazine, all this is built on the availability of cheap oil. I hope nobody takes offense, but also if we all ate fewer animal proteins and had a more immediate plant-based way of feeding ourselves, i.e. reducing meat coming from CAFOs, we could easily feed ourselves on fewer acres. Nobody would feel they have to convert forests , wetlands or marginal lands into farmland.


6 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2017-06-11 23:23:13 (CST)



those people who buy the land and redo it like that must have a lot more money than I do. I need to get rid of the Red Cedar trees that came up without any help from anyone. there just taking over around here 25 years ago you could see 10 now from the same spot you can see 1000 and getting thicker. we are still cutting them as fast as we can.


6 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Billy Foster says 2017-06-12 07:28:09 (CST)



This depends on what part of the country you live in. Pretty much any land in New England has already been farm land at one point but has grown back to timber over the many years since the industrial revolution. In New England, where we farm, there is very little open farm land available. The typical new farm is geared towards direct marketing and because of this needs to be located a commutable distance from a populous. Typically, any open land in these areas is built into developments. The money a farmer can get from a developer is much more than what they can get for ag land around here. In this area of Maine, we figure the value of purchasing, clearing and planting grass on a forested piece of land is about 5 thousand dollars an acre. If I want to open up more hay land on our farm, I figure on spending about 2 thousand an acre for stumping (hired), I would be responsible for plowing, discing, rock picking, lime and seeding.

Billy


6 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2017-06-12 09:16:25 (CST)



the developers cut all the trees, sell the land for housing then name all the streets after trees. big farmers make their money by farming their mailbox. the taxpayers pay some farmers not to farm others to farm, that is how the farmers are controlled. The farmers that get GOV. checks have the new equipment,houses,motor homes, and pickups. They have to spend that money so they can get more next round. Just my opinion I could be wrong but I'm not.


6 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2017-06-12 19:02:47 (CST)



No, K.C. , you are not wrong here, but maybe we shouldn't totally generalize. There must be farmers out there who cannot be included in your description, they are probably just hard to find or to identify.


6 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

JerryHicks says 2017-06-13 04:50:28 (CST)



Good farm land in my area can be bought for 2,000 per acre in some cases less. My neighbor just sold his farm to an Amish family, 207 acres, for 2,000 per acre. I would imagine it would have to be some awfully good soil to be worth converting from forest to farmland at those costs.


6 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Billy Foster says 2017-06-13 10:25:19 (CST)



As KC Fox mention it very well could be that the land in question is being cleared so a loss of income can be shown. Right or wrong, this is a common business strategy, agriculture or other. I agree, perhaps the environment would have been better off if a new tractor was purchased instead.
Jerry I wish 2K would buy farm land up here. We are paying about 2K for rocky forested ground. One can buy cheep land in northern Maine but there is no one to sell anything to. Most all the farms in northern Maine raise potatoes. Thousands of acres of potatoes, could be potatoes could be corn or wheat, pretty much the same monoculture.

We have clearcut, stumped and plowed and we have also cut firewood and run the pigs in the area the next season. One doesn't make a whole lot of progress with the pig method but I think it is about as economically and environmentally sound a method as one can get. We save up money to get stumping done and we make deposits in the bank with the pig method. It sounds pretty obvious which one is smarter when one spells it out.

Billy


6 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Koty says 2017-06-13 16:59:55 (CST)



No fires yet. I'll keep you posted as this continues to move forward.

Fields all around are in alfalfa. This could be pretty expensive bales.


6 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dusty 4R says 2017-06-13 21:38:22 (CST)



Klaus, I am a grazier. I say more grazing animals, more grass, less oil, fuel,and iron. Fewer grains, more water saved, fewer chemicals, more diversity. We can't keep pumping water like we have been. You can't drink oil.


6 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2017-06-13 23:21:52 (CST)



The owner might have inherited the land. Isn't this the way all farms were created years ago? Just because someone already has farmable land is no reason to say another can't make his land farmable. I know growing up, we sure pulled our share of stumps.

The place down the road of 180 acres was just a big hill. We could farm the top and one of the sides. The rest was covered with timber. In later years, that timber was sold off for a profit, then later it was stripped mine for coal and reclaimed. Now it is about 75% farmable and in production .

On the other hand., a lot more of old farms are being let go. Younger folks don't want to a work that hard and those small farms are now grown up with brush and trees. Probably just as many in that category as ones being cleared.

I'm a big fan of personal property rights. If the guy wants to clear cut it and farm, more power to him. His name is on the deed.


6 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2017-06-13 23:25:13 (CST)



How do we know the land is not suitable to farming. BIG generalization there.


6 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2017-06-14 15:51:29 (CST)



Dusty, I totally agree, grazing the animals instead of feeding them in energy intensive CAFOs would be one of the solutions.
Vince, while personal property rights are certainly valuable and one of the ideological bases of our society, every owner of land also has the obligation to consider the common good. We had that discussion before. You just have to watch the worried participants of agricultural discussions to see what overproduction has wrought - a constant threat to the existence of farms. Now that does not mean that I would oppose any clearing of land, but still....


6 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2017-06-15 17:10:23 (CST)



Ok for the common good ,since there is too much land in production how about everyone taking 25% of their land out of production. I bet everyone here who thinks this guy ought not to clear his land wouldn't go for that .

It's the same old story. I got mine but now let's stop anyone one else from reaping their rewards..

As long as this guy does not interfere, or cause detriments to the neighbor on the other side of the fence he has right to do as he pleases with his land, unless he is in some development with a set of restrictive covenants or local zoning prohibits it.


6 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

JerryHicks says 2017-06-16 04:56:40 (CST)



I can definitely see both sides on this discussion. I agree with a lot of what Vince is saying. We commonly say around here that "Everyone farms their neighbor's place best." Meaning we all think we know exactly what the next person should do. I also understand the environmental ramifications of poor management to the point of abuse. But, it also possibly goes both ways. When my partner got badly burned, we let some things slip on our place. We have some hillside pasture that was being scythed twice a year. Without the mowing, the honey locust trees and cedars have gotten out of hand and now are too large even to bush hog. I feel I have two options. (I'm sure are more, but I feel there are two that are feasible for me)One being, cut the trees and paint the stumps with an herbicide that would control the brush or hire a dozer to come push them out, pile them and burn them. I'm on the fence with both but I figure I've lost at least half if not more of the production value of the land. A passerby who is visitng the "country" would see "forest" and probably be scandalized at either management technique if they saw it being done. The farm on which I grew up is also a good example. When my grandpa bought it in 1932 there was about 20 trees on the entire farm. The farm consisted of 125 ares of hillside and rocks. Over the next thirty years my grandpa worked in a brickyard in town and only farmed what he needed to grow food for his family, a milk cow, a few hogs and a pair of mules. The rest that wasn't needed for crops and hay was allowed to grow to timber size which was harvested twice before my grandpa passed away. To look at it now it would be hard to believe it was ever cleared and very expensive to have it cleared, probably not worth the expense of clearing.


6 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Koty says 2017-06-23 16:58:01 (CST)



Everything has been moved again. Now all the stumps are in 3 or 4 massive piles. I presume they will be left to dry for a long time, then burned.

A friend farms close by. I'll try to get an educated answer as to what this is all about.


5 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Wanderosa says 2017-06-24 13:42:52 (CST)



A question/random musing directed mostly towards Klaus' comment about eating a more plant-based diet versus cheap meat imports (of course everyone feel free to chime in!) Being a yoga teacher I'm surrounded by people who adhere to a vegan lifestyle. As a result of an auto-immune disease I adhere to almost the opposite diet - mainly clean animal protein, veggies, fruits, and very little grain or legumes.

I have no issue with someone wanting to eat vegan if that's what their heart tells them is right. However, It's been my experience that most of them automatically assume that they are doing a great service for the planet eating vegan. I'm not sure this is the case. The rapid increase in demand for almond milk is demonstrably a major contributor to the water crisis plaguing California, for example. Demand for soy must have a similar impact.

Got me to thinking - diets around the world evolved out of what was abundant to that locality and had the least negative impact on the environment. For example, I have lots of grass and wooded lots. Animals like cows and pigs can convert those foodstuffs into lean muscle, whereas I as a human cannot. Seems it would support my choice of naturally raised meat and veggies and fruits and nuts that are native to my area. The majority of vegans/vegetarians I know don't adhere to locally grown products. (Walnuts or hazelnuts instead of almonds. Blackberries, raspberries instead of acai) Thoughts?


5 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2017-06-24 21:43:18 (CST)



I think you are on to some thing there. I am in Colorado. We have the largest elk herd in the North American continent. My staple mea/food is elk, with some deer and antelope thrown in. An occasional hamburger from Sonic is about the most beef I eat. A roasted chicken from the super market or a few pork/ham steaks once in awhile. WY,MT , CO, KS , Ne, etc. are beef states, we eat meat.

Awhile back a cardiologist told me I should eat more fish. Most wild fish in CO lakes you can't eat hardly any because of mercury contamination. Catfish filets that were once $2/ # are now $13 for two fillets. Salmon is 1/2 again as much. It would be cheaper to go buy some fish oil capsules. I enjoy fresh corn in season , asparagus and few other vegies, but they are a side dish to the meat. I tried growing an assortment of vegetables for years, but the hail took out the crop two out of three years and at 7600 feet, our growing season is about 60 days long. If God wanted me to eat rabbit food, he would have seen fit to give me two big front teeth.

Nothing to do about farm land value and clearing land, but heck, you asked? ( grin)


5 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2017-06-24 22:08:46 (CST)



Wanderosa, note that I wrote meat from CAFOs, which I oppose, for various reasons, whereas I support grass-fed meat animal production, except in cases where natural habitats are being deliberately destroyed. I myself eat meat in moderation, but I think generally one can say, that there is a consensus in the medical community that a more plant-based nutrition would have tremendous benefits for most. Of course, I admit freely, that as a vegetable producer I have a certain positive bias towards vegetables.


5 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

NoraWI says 2017-06-25 07:55:39 (CST)



Wanderosa, I agree with you wholeheartedly!


5 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum


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