Rising Land Prices Pose Challenges for VA Farmers
Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Farmers are facing record-high land prices due to a bevy of factors.
According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report, Virginia farm real estate prices have risen 8.5% in the last four years, and cost is not the only problem farmers face in trying to acquire land. Some Black farmers find it challenging to lay claim to their place in the ag industry.
Duron Chavis, board member of the Central Virginia Agrarian Commons, said the lack of intergenerational wealth among Black families is a major factor in trying to buy farmland.
"If I don't have the money, I don't have the money," Chavis acknowledged. "The reality is it's not like I can go walk into a bank and be like, 'Hey, I'd like to get an equity loan on a home that I don't even own,' if I'm a renter. That's just not how the system works."
He sees more immediate solutions to the issue as land redistribution and reparative justice. A 2022 study from the American Economic Association Journal examines Black land loss from 1920 to 1997, and found the compounded value of the loss is roughly $326 billion.
John Ikerd, professor emeritus of agricultural economics at the University of Missouri, said farmland prices pose other challenges. For anyone who wants to get into agriculture, paying several thousand dollars per acre eats through a lot of the startup funds for the farm needed to get going. He added there are also challenges for current farmers.
"If things are going to continue as it has in the past, if you're one of the farmers that's been expanding and got a lot of land, got a lot of equity, you're going to continue to compete for the prices," Ikerd pointed out. "I think what we're going to see is, we're going to see fewer and fewer farmers that can compete."
Ikerd believes land and farms should be sold to the people who are actually working the land, rather than large, investor-owned farms consolidating available acreage. He said one of the bigger concerns is the land being used for all its profitability, and then being sold after it's depleted.
get more stories like this via email
Many of California's 13.5 million children and teens have not bounced back after the pandemic, especially children of color, according to the just-…
Americans continue to report low trust in mainstream media, with many younger than 30 saying they trust information from social media nearly as much …
A Minnesota House committee heard testimony Thursday about the governor's proposed spending plan for education. As these talks unfold, public polling …
Health and Wellness
Health-care professionals say low pay and a worker shortage have led a dramatic number of nursing homes in rural Iowa to close their doors. They hope …
Health and Wellness
Health-care professionals and advocates in Connecticut have said it will take sweeping reforms to bolster the state's flailing public health system…
In her fifth State of the State address this week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer emphasized policies designed to put more money in Michiganders' pockets…
By nearly every measure, voter fraud in U.S. elections is rare, but that isn't stopping the Texas Legislature from considering dozens of bills this …
A Republican-sponsored bill in the Arkansas Legislature would make it illegal to circulate petitions at or near polling places during elections…