(NaturalNews) There are arguably a number of varying factors influencing the mass farmland sell-off currently taking place in the American Midwest. One thing seems certain, though -- America's once-treasured farming tradition is quickly fading into history as the next generation of Americans abandon rural life, and investors come in to snap up their fertile plots of soil in Iowa and elsewhere.
The trend of migration from rural to urban life is nothing new. But what is relatively new is the heightened interest among investors from around the country, and even from around the world, in purchasing US farmland as a type of "hedge" commodity for their portfolios -- and this is especially true as the value of farmland continues its rise to record levels.
A recent Reuters report explains that in Iowa, an agricultural mecca marked mostly by corn and soy crops these days, fertile farmland has become a hot commodity that is attracting many out-of-towners. Unable or simply unwilling to further the legacy of their parents and grandparents, farmland heirs are selling or auctioning off their family land to the highest bidder.
At the same time, demand for farmland is so high that many landowners feel it just makes good financial sense to sell their land. According to the latest figures, farmland prices in Iowa have increased about 24 percent within the past year, and the average per-acre price of cropland across the state is now $5,700 (http://www.iowafarmertoday.com/news/regional...).
Another issue is the exorbitant federal estate tax, also known as the "death" tax, that farm heirs are levied following a farmer's death. This tax, which can exceed 50 percent of an estate's total value in some cases, can force farm heirs to sell some or all of the land just to pay it, which inadvertently forces farming families out of the business whether they want to or not.
In other words, when the ever-worsening economic meltdown eventually leads to massive food shortages, Americans will have already sold their source of food down the river for a heap of worthless debt currency.