Investor Jim Rogers and Glenn Beck earlier today discussed the global decline in the number of people interested in pursuing farming as a professional career.
“Nobody wants to [farm],” Beck said, referring to an earlier conversation he had with Rogers. “And it’s not just here — it’s around the entire world. Farming has become a lost art.”
“The average age of farmers in America is 58,” Rogers noted. “In Japan, it’s 66. In Canada, it’s the oldest in recorded history. In Australia, it’s 58. In 10 years, those guys will be 68 (if they’re still alive). Somebody has got to go into the fields.”
“More people in America study public relations than study agriculture,” he added. “We don’t have any farmers coming up.” [Below at about the 9-minute mark]
However, despite this apparent disinterest in agriculture, and despite the drought that’s still eating away at the industry’s profits, something remarkable is happening right now in the value of U.S. cropland, according to bankers surveyed in the latest report from the Kansas City Fed.
“Farm income and land values were boosted by high crop prices and high crop insurance payments. In North and South Dakota, land lease revenue increased thanks to the region’s energy deposits,” Business Insider notes.
“Bankers in the Corn Belt and Central Plains reported strong annual increases. Meanwhile in Texas, where growing conditions were poor, farmland values increased a modest 2.6 percent year-over-year,” the report adds.
And that’s not all: For the remainder of FY2013, analysts expect farmland values to grow — and grow some more.
Here’s a chart illustrating the increase in non-irrigated cropland in Q3:
If this trend continues, as analyst Jesse Colombo notes, these agricultural areas may very well become “New Manhattans” (as far as wealth is concerned).
“Farming is going to be one of the great professions of the next 10-20 years,” Jim Rogers told Beck.
“When I speak to universities and students, I tell them they should all be studying agriculture. They don’t want to do it. They all want to get MBAs. But it’s a terrible mistake. They should be studying agriculture,” he added.
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Featured image courtesy Getty Images. This post has been updated.