FarmCap. Yeah. Like Small-Cap and Large-Cap Funds. It’s a play on that, and it’s playing with more than that.
It’s a news resource “for innovators and investors to stay on top of agricultural technology and capital.” Essentially, an investment window for what’s going on with AgTech (Agricultural Technology), the folks “engineering highly reflective soybeans for reduced water demand” and “high efficiency fertilizer delivery via robotics.”
This points to another side of the ag debate, which is not entirely our focus at Agrarian Trust, as we are mainly interested in the land. It’s hard to separate the farm from the land, though, and so I must go on record with my disagreement with groups like AgFunder, the group “building modern financial infrastructure to feed the world with an investment marketplace servicing the $6.4T global agriculture industry.”
The investment in these types of crops and technologies is short-sighted and reactionary. We are cautioned by the rising need for food globally, with some saying, “Only technology can save us.”
Technology has yet to satisfy this farmer in addressing the long-term effects of agriculture that does not include soil-building. A 2012 article in Time Magazine warned:
A rough calculation of current rates of soil degradation suggests we have about 60 years of topsoil left. Some 40% of soil used for agriculture around the world is classed as either degraded or seriously degraded – the latter means that 70% of the topsoil, the layer allowing plants to grow, is gone. Because of various farming methods that strip the soil of carbon and make it less robust as well as weaker in nutrients, soil is being lost at between 10 and 40 times the rate at which it can be naturally replenished. Even the well-maintained farming land in Europe, which may look idyllic, is being lost at unsustainable rates.
Using highly-efficient robot fertilizers and discotheque soybeans may work in trials to produce more pounds per acre, but on a large and long-term scale we would still be destroying the very ground we walk on.
Investing in agriculture is crucial. We need to support farmers who are helping to secure our food future(s), not trade that future for short-term gain. Investing in the AgTech market is putting your money against farmers.
All quotes not hyperlinked are from Rob Millis, launcher of FarmCap.
Check out this video about Mark Shepherd’s Restoration Agriculture for an example of highly sustainable farming.