Tuesday, September 30, 2014 09:49am
North Adams, MA now: 61 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

Home About Archives RSS Feed
The Independent Investor: Ole Man River Bolsters Agriculture Investment Case
By: Bill Schmick On: 05:08PM / Friday May 20, 2011
Important
0
Interesting
0
Funny
0
Awesome
0
Infuriating
0
Ridiculous
0

The flooding of the Mississippi River will be the worst disaster in the Delta farming region's history since1927. Millions of fertile acres in Missouri, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas are under water. Farms along that riverbank could take a $2 billion hit, but to us it simply underscores our argument that agriculture is a long term growth area.

Understand that my heart goes out to those who are suffering from this misfortune. Cotton, wheat, corn, soybeans, rice and even catfish won't be raised or planted this season, forcing many Americans out of work. It also will add even more pressure to sky high agricultural prices. Readers may recall my January column "Stock up now or pay later," where I warned that higher prices for a wide range of soft commodities would be showing up in retail stores and supermarkets just about now. But the flip side of these disasters is they offer a fertile field of investment for those who pay attention.

Horrific weather conditions throughout the world are largely responsible for the present crop shortages. So far this year weather appears once again to have turned a cold shoulder to farmers whether in the Mississippi or the Yangtze River deltas. Even before the flood, the World Agricultural Supply and Demand estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture was forecasting large price increases for a variety of grains for the 2011-2012 periods.

The flooding just happened to occur as a free-fall in commodity prices began. Energy, base metals, precious metals and agricultural foodstuffs have all been sold simultaneously. Yet, in the case of agriculture, I believe shortages will continue to persist supporting higher food prices for the foreseeable future. Therein lies our opportunity.

The astute investor understands that these natural disasters offer windfalls for companies that produce much needed tools, equipment and other products that can aid farmers in reviving this devastated acreage. Flooding will normally wash away nutrients and deposit silt or sand as it recedes. Farmers will need equipment to turn that soil, new seed to plant and the fertilizer to make it grow. Although attention is now focused on the Mississippi, don’t forget that other areas of the country are suffering from an abnormally wet spring as well.

In the corn market, for example, U.S. plantings for the first week in May came in at 13 percent, the third lowest pace since 1986 and well below the 10-year average of 43 percent. Ohio, Indiana and Iowa reported plantings of just 1, 2 and 8 percent. The odds that farmers will close the planting gap look slimmer and slimmer since either flooding or severe drought are hitting large areas of the farm belt.

Over in Texas, Oklahoma and the New Mexico range, cattle herds are being pulled off once lush pasture land as either drought or fire has reduced the range to desert. Instead, cattle are dining on feed, already in scarce supply, which will both increase costs and ultimately prices for consumers.

But those are just the short-term considerations. As we look at the long-term supply and demand imbalance, the investment case for food commodities is even stronger. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) is projecting an increase of 2.3 billion in the world population by 2050 to 9 billion. Developing countries will account for the lion's share of that growth. It will take a 70 percent increase in food production (yearly investment of $209 billion) just to keep pace with that growth rate.

If, at the same time, we want to reduce the future percentage of the world's population that goes hungry, then we need to invest $359 billion a year. Since a growing population that is also hungry is a recipe for violent regime change, politicians worldwide are paying attention.

Unfortunately, there is not enough arable land around the world to expand food production. So, in order to meet future demand, new farming, crop seed and fertilizer technologies will be required. It just so happens that U.S. chemical, fertilizer, equipment and food companies are leaders in forging a path to this brave new world.

Bottom line: for investors, the recent pull back in the commodity space was healthy and long overdue but, in my opinion, does not negate the investment case for agriculture over the long term.

Bill Schmick is an independent investor with Berkshire Money Management. (See "About" for more information.) None of the information presented in any of these articles is intended to be and should not be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. The reader should not assume that any strategies, or specific investments discussed are employed, bought, sold or held by BMM. Direct your inquiries to Bill at (toll free) or e-mail him at wschmick@fairpoint.net. Visit www.afewdollarsmore.com for more of Bill's insights.



2 Comments
Tags: weather, commodities      
News Headlines
Clarksburg Golf Course Work in Danger of Shutdown
Pittsfield Board Revokes Unused Liquor License
Letters: Thank You, Thank You, Thank You
Adams Board of Health Raises Permitting Fees
Dunkin' Donuts Withdraws Pittsfield Church Demolition Plan
NBBPW to Honor Marilyn Faulkner
Habitat for Humanity Showcase Trees Available Oct. 1
Grant Funds Five MCLA Scholarships
Roadwork Projects Pop Up in Williamstown
North Adams Begins Planning for Skate Park
Bill Schmick is registered as an investment advisor representative and portfolio manager with Berkshire Money Management (BMM), managing over $200 million for investors in the Berkshires. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own and do not necessarily represent the views of BMM. None of his commentary is or should be considered investment advice. Anyone seeking individualized investment advice should contact a qualified investment adviser. None of the information presented in this article is intended to be and should not be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. The reader should not assume that any strategies, or specific investments discussed are employed, bought, sold or held by BMM. Direct your inquiries to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com Visit www.afewdollarsmore.com for more of Bill’s insights.

 

 

 



Categories:
@theMarket (145)
Independent Investor (197)
Archives:
September 2014 (5)
August 2014 (7)
July 2014 (2)
June 2014 (6)
May 2014 (9)
April 2014 (8)
March 2014 (6)
February 2014 (6)
January 2014 (7)
December 2013 (8)
November 2013 (7)
October 2013 (6)
Tags:
Congress Rally Metals Stocks Markets Selloff Debt Economy Banks Recession Commodities Fiscal Cliff Bailout Housing Europe Election Crisis Taxes Stock Market Euro Debt Ceiling Energy Currency Pullback Deficit Interest Rates Oil Fed Retirement Europe Jobs Federal Reserve Stimulus Greece Japan
Popular Entries:
The Independent Investor: Understanding the Foreclosure Scandal
The Independent Investor: Don't Fight the Fed
The Independent Investor: Does Cash Mean Currencies?
@theMarket: QE II Supports the Markets
@theMarket: Markets Are Going Higher
The Independent Investor: General Motors — Back to the Future
The Independent Investor: How Will Wall Street II Play on Main Street?
The Independent Investor: Will the Municipal Bond Massacre Continue?
@theMarket: Economy Sputters, Stocks Stutter
The Independent Investor: Why Are Interest Rates Rising?
Recent Entries:
@theMarket: Wash, Rinse and Repeat
The Independent Investor: Is Wall Street Responsible for Climate Change?
@theMarket: Waiting on the Fed
The Independent Investor: The United States of Scotland?
The Independent Investor: Europe Follows the U.S. lead
@theMarket: What's Up With Bonds?
The Independent Investor: Baby Boomers and Retirement
@theMarket: Labor on Their Mind
The Independent Investor: Financing ISIS
@theMarket: Geopolitical Risk Trumps Economic Growth


View All
Golf: Drury vs Pittsfield
Nick Boulger carded a 40 to lead the Drury High School golf...
Bike Night 2014
Motorcycles packed into the Visitor Center parking lot...
Girls Soccer: Pittsfield vs...
Trinity Cookis tallied three of Pittsfield’s seven goals...
Soccer: PHS vs Taconic
Pittsfield boys, top Taconic 5-0
Football: Smith Voc vs McCann...
McCann over Smith Voc. 53-0.
Soccer: St. Joe's vs Taconic
St. Joe 1, Taconic 1: 1st half: Tac - Ryan Abel (Colin...
McCann Tech Golf
The McCann Tech golf team dropped a 19-5 decision to...
Girls Soccer: Hoosac vs Mt....
Rand made two of her six saves in the last six minutes, and...
Berkshire Works Career Fair...
The annual Berkshire Works Career Fair connected hundreds...
Soccer: Mount Everett vs...
Bradley Lupiani scored twice to lead the Mount Everett boys...
Cross Country at Wahconah
Boys:Wahconah beat Hoosac Valley 28-31; Lenox beat Hoosac...
Soccer: Commerce vs McCann
McCann Tech's Fuller Closing in on Hundredth Point. Nico...
UCP Annual Meeting 2014
United Cerebral Palsy of Berkshire County dedicated its...
Volleyball: St. Joe s vs...
Saint Joseph's 18 13 13 0 Wahconah 25 25 25 3
Girls Soccer: Mt Greylock vs...
The Wahconah girls soccer team earned its fifth straight...
Soccer: Hoosac Valley vs...
Hoosac, Taconic Boys Play to Scoreless Tie
Golf: Drury vs Pittsfield
Nick Boulger carded a 40 to lead the Drury High School golf...
Bike Night 2014
Motorcycles packed into the Visitor Center parking lot...
Girls Soccer: Pittsfield vs...
Trinity Cookis tallied three of Pittsfield’s seven goals...
Soccer: PHS vs Taconic
Pittsfield boys, top Taconic 5-0
Football: Smith Voc vs McCann...
McCann over Smith Voc. 53-0.
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved