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28 days ago

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I posted in 2017 that a person in my region had just cleared 20 acres of woods to make farm land. Here's what then happened.

After the clear cut, the branches and other debris were placed in windrows. Then he used heavy equipment to pull all of the stumps and placed them in the windrows.

Everything stayed that way through that winter. Spring of 2018 he planted corn between the windrows. Harvested in the fall.

Winter of 18/19 the windrows were burned. Spring of 2019 what remained of the burned trees and stumps were picked up with heavy equipment and moved off site.

The ground was disked and planted. Corn coming up as I type this.

I'm told the money paid for the trees/wood paid for the owner to rent heavy equipment, which he drove, to accomplish all of the rest of the operations.

Keith L. says 2019-06-20 14:46:21 (CST)

That's interesting. Thanks for the update.

An elderly neighbor farmer in my area cut down four and a half acres of trees and hired a guy to bulldoze it about 6-7 years ago. In the course of time (about 4 years ago) his son took over the farm and finished clearing it and started farming it. The local FSA office found out about it and called him in for a hearing. They claimed it was wetlands even though its anything but wetlands. It was a level area in the middle of the field that was a pain to farm around.

Now FSA claims that the penalty for clearing wetlands is that he must pay back all farm subsidy payments that he has received since the time his father cleared the land. This gentleman is a dairy farmer and with the suppressed markets the last few years, he has received substantial milk payments. They claim every FSA payment must be repaid in full. He told me he did some figuring and the payments since that time to his farm would total just shy of $500,000. He farms around 1000 acres.

Needless to say, the whole thing is now in mediation. Sounds like they will settle for less. He told them he would just stop farming it and plant it back to trees. They told him that the only way they would allow that is if he'd do it to their specs which will cost around $20,000 an acre to return farmland to wetlands.

Moral of the story: Treat wood lots like a farm commodity and manage them appropriately just like we as farmers manage our fields.

27 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dusty 4R says 2019-06-23 06:57:43 (CST)

That’s why you shouldn’t take money from FSA. Every farmer in my area takes cost share from FSA on every pivot, land improvement project, tree planting, etc.etc., then they own you. Don’t farm the government folks.

24 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2019-06-23 08:22:28 (CST)

There in lies the entire tragedy: When commodity prices are low, be they grains, beans or milk, many farmers resort to expanding production and thereby collectively drive down prices even more. The way to go is a) be flexible so that one produce something else b) have very little or no debt so that the bank can't force you into production with losses. Cutting down trees to expand makes no sense at all for many reasons and yet one can see it allover the Midwest. Mostly to make room for those supersized implements that cost too much in the first place. I repeat here what I said before, many farmers seem not to want to be farmers but heavy machine operators.
The farming community has also long supported policies of limitless individual business expansion regardless if that's good or bad for the communities.

24 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Uncle Jed says 2019-06-24 20:45:04 (CST)

I second Klaus' comment about heavy equipment operators. I was working the horses on a farm and saw the other folks never got off the machine(s) to do almost anything. Looking at other operations and saw pretty much the same situation on other places. Sad. Also noticed that there was little effort to mitigate damage caused with the machines.

22 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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