Several observations have led me to start some Bio Wash agri tests that could lead to a new niche of profitability.
See why these agri tests might replace some of my investments in emerging markets.
One of the biggest trends that supported Merri’s and my business and our investments has been the rise of emerging markets for over 40 years. The roots of the business (and investments) began in Hong Kong in 1968 just as it and emerging stock markets were beginning to emerge. This put me on that correct niche.
Over the next 40 years Hong Kong and what had been called the “Third World” became the “Fastest Growing World”.
No more. European markets today offer better value and prospects for growth than emerging markets as a whole.
A June 12, 2012 BBC News article shows that this could get even worse. Here is an excerpt (Bolds are mine). World Bank: Developing nations face weak growth. The crisis in eurozone has had a big impact on stock markets in emerging economies in Asia.
Developing nations should brace themselves for weak growth and “tougher times”, the World Bank has warned. It said that there may be “a long period of volatility in the global economy” as the eurozone debt crisis escalates.
The bank forecast that developing economies will grow by 5.3% this year, down from 6.1% in 2011. It urged policymakers to take adequate long-term measures to ensure that they can sustain growth.
“Developing countries should focus on productivity-enhancing reforms and infrastructure investment instead of reacting to day-to-day changes in the international environment,” said Hans Timmer, director of development prospects at the World Bank.
This leaves emerging markets vulnerable and leaves Merri and me asking… “What should we do now?”
What we have to do… what we ALL have to do is take the same steps emerging markets need to take… ” focus on productivity-enhancing reforms and infrastructure investment instead of reacting to day-to-day changes”.
We need completely new creative mind-sets to figure out “what’s next”. Linear thinking is a death knell for creativity.
Fortunately it is a lot easier for us as individuals to take new productivity steps than entire nations. Here is a new mindset in agriculture and natural health based on several observations that may create opportunities for you.
I am testing some ideas explained below:
Observation #1: If emerging markets slow down, prices in two sectors are almost sure to rise… manufactured goods and food.
In the last 50 years or so emerging markets took over manufacturing and offered cheap labor. They moved farmers who were dependent on the land into factories. The USA took over a lot of the world’s food production… became the breadbasket of the world and became the biggest exporter of food.
If emerging market factories slow down, governments will have to kick in (to stop revolutions) and support the unemployed. When these poor governments increase support for their unemployed, they become less efficient. National productivity drops. Prices rise. Operating a factory in an emerging market will cost more. These emerging nations will produce less. The former farmers who are now former factory workers could become welfare recipients needing to be fed.
These factory workers will not return to farming. Their land has sold. They have lost their skills and tasted a different life.
Thus emerging nations will need the same amount (or more) of food, but will have less in the form of manufactured goods to trade for it. This means the price of food will rise.
Observation #2: Over the past several decades, emotional values have grown into the business process so they are often as important as economic value.
Consumers today base their buying decisions on private internal values that are a main theme in their buying process.
For example many businesses learned it is a good investment to give part of their profits to some type of charity. Some businesses have become their values, such as the ice cream company, Ben & Jerry’s. (Of course that was the Ben & Jerry’s of the past…not necessarily the B&J of today.)
Part of business now is to expresses a value through the way they do business.
Starbucks for example offers the concepts of fair trade, organic and green for their coffee. Maybe this is because they believe this is good for the world or maybe they believe consumers will buy more coffee from them.
Whatever their reasoning, this shows how values have become of increasing importance and how consumers have increasingly followed their feelings as well as their pocket books.
These corporate values have, in the past, often became the difference between success and failure.
When the global economic slowdown hit, US consumers began to cut non essentials from their shopping lists but continued to open their wallets for natural and organic products that they believe are healthier and are good for the planet. Organic sales have held up despite the economic slow down.
Here is where some opportunity may come in.
The branding of health products has become so diluted that phrases like “All Natural” and “Organic” are becoming meaningless. Big business has so distort the reality of the words that no longer convey enough trust in order to demand higher prices when offered by big business.
Plus there has been a big expansion of ALL NATURAL inventory. If these factors and inflation push organic products beyond the masses, a niche may expand for small agricultural businesses.
This niche may create a demand for “hybrid” products that offer healthier values than standard brands but are not called organic and cost less than organic.
For example some products using Bio Wash have become “pesticide free” and/or “reduced fertilized”.
I believe enough in these observations to start some testing in our orange grove. Recently my grandson, Garren, and I loaded up the Cub Cadet with flagging ribbon… went out into our orange grove and set up four test zones… each at an opposite extreme from one another.
Garren helping me set up our tests.
In each zone we selected sick, healthy and new trees.
A sick tree in our grove flagged yellow.
A healthy tree and…
new orange trees.
We flagged half with yellow ribbon which will be sprayed regularly with Bio Wash Soil Amendment. The other half was sprayed flagged green and they will get equal spraying with Bio Wash 100.
Watch carefully for opportunities in this sector.
Our assistant, Derek Hylands, is keeping track of growth and the amount of spraying done. We are reporting results to our grove manager as well as Ted Tidwell who manufactures Bio Wash.
Our goal is to produce bigger… healthier oranges in a process that requires less fertilizer and little or no pesticides.
I feel the goal makes sense because numerous forces in the market place include:
#1: Aging population.
#2: Terrible national health due to awful national nutritional habits.
#3: Rising non natural food prices.
#4: Monoculture farming being hit by the law of diminishing returns.
#5: Rising energy costs reducing the effectiveness of early harvesting and long range distribution.
All these forces stimulate opportunity for natural, local, organic goods exactly as big business destroys the image of the arena.
Big business and organic ideals do not mesh well. This is a niche where small businesses like ours may reap better profits.
What is growing fast here in North Carolina is our Saturday Farmer’s Market.
Merri and I make it early 8 a.m. every Saturday market to buy the best there is. We delight in seeing our friends there and buying all sorts of heirloom vegetables and plants. We have seen this market triple in size and continue to be packed! But of course, up here in the High Country this market can’t be open all year.
Jeanne and here husband have the Berry Patch farm and we have been delighted to watch them expand.
Ann Rose has gone totally organic.
Often when we have weekend seminars up here, on Saturday evening we drive the group to Lansing and look at how small businesses can profit. There we visit the organic New River Winery for a wine tasting. The winery is housed in an old WPA building which originally was the Lansing School.
Here is Haskell McGuire one of the New River founders showing us the winery.
New River’s flagship wines are organic Bohemia Red and Bohemia White. These were followed by the introduction of signature wines, Back Porch Blueberry. New River now has several new wines in production including: Pinot Blanc, Hellbender Red, Lansing School White, Big Laurel Blush, and Seyval.
The winery started small and is growing by leaps and bounds. Vineyards and wineries are one of the fastest growing business sectors in North Carolina.
One of the features about living in Ecuador are the produce markets and access to the grower of one’s food.
Good food, like this fruit at the Cotacachi, Ecuador farmers’ market are one factor why so many expats like living in Ecuador.
If my thinking about healthy food and big business, the wrong footedness of big business will benefit everything from small, big businesses, like Whole Foods to seed companies, live poultry wholesalers, fish hatcheries, gardening tool makers and small agricultural plots as well as natural health products.
Ecuador Agricultural Expedition
Ecuador Agricultural Property Expedition by Jean Marie Butterlin.
May 14-15-16, 2012
Sept 17-18-19, 2012
See Ecuador agricultural property by four wheel drive.
Merri’s and my first property purchase many years ago was agricultural land… over 900 acres… formerly in sugar cane, citrus, pineapples and avocados… the top soil deep and rich.
Here is a photo of Merri feeding one of our horses. We still have that hacienda land, Rosaspamba, (the place of the roses).
Plus we have added more agricultural land… and are looking to add more.
An excerpt from a recent message entitled Beating & Benefiting From the Economic Crash explains why: In the seven years before its peak in July 2006, the US home-price index surged 155 percent. Since then, it’s fallen 33 percent.
This creates a huge opportunity. Economic history since before WWI suggests that we’ll see the final crunch of this 15 year bear in 2011 and perhaps 2012. Then the light at the end of the tunnel will appear… slowly at first but picking up a head of steam aiming for the next bubble of something like 2030.
The way to beat this crunch is to set your affairs so you do not lose during the next crunch and have liquidity to take advantage of the low prices and high value the crunch could bring.
There are numbers of reasonably safe pockets of opportunity. For example inflation during these difficult economic times has helped profits on agricultural property.
Excerpts from a May 31, 2011 article “Farm boom missing Main Street” by By John Gaps III, of The Des Moines Register show what I mean: GUTHRIE CENTER, Iowa – Fifteen miles northeast of here, a quarter of a square-mile of farmland sold for $1.3 million this spring.
Farmers can lock in about $6.73 a bushel on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for corn they will deliver to market in December, nearly twice the price a year ago.
The sustained surge in corn prices has driven the average value of an acre of Iowa farmland to $5,708, according to a March survey by the Realtors Land Institute. That’s up 19.7% from the previous six months and up from $1,865 in March 2001, according to the Institute’s Troy Louwagie. The land northeast of Guthrie Center— where fields are flat and the soil is black — sold for $8,600 per acre, according to the county assessor.
“The rural economy is very good right now despite signs of a peaking commodities market and concerns about drought creeping north from Texas, flooding along the Mississippi River, and rain-delayed corn planting in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. American farmers who grow everything from rice to sugar beets have enjoyed a year of historically high prices, said Don Roose, a trader at U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines.
It’s not just towns surrounded by crop farming that have declined amid high commodity prices.
In heavily forested west central Alabama, the town of York has suffered as the timber industry has consolidated, said Auburn sociology professor Conner Bailey, president-elect of the Rural Sociological Association.
That’s despite steadily climbing timber prices since the middle of 2009 on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
This is why in the last several years I have been writing about and adding agricultural real estate to my portfolio.
There are few places with as much agricultural potential and diversity as Ecuador. It is not surprising that many readers ask us about Ecuador farmland or agricultural property there.
Our first reply to anyone asking is… agricultural land is hard to find and get it! Finding our hacienda took us well over a year of dedicated search. Searching for good farmland is not like viewing a batch of properties in a town or village. First, it often takes hours just to get to the land. Secondly, it almost always takes hours inspecting the land. You do not do quick walk throughs on 100 or more hectares. One is lucky to be able to see one property a day unless you can be really very organized.
Then once you find something that looks good… the hard part begins. Of course there is always the price!
Then there is the research. One seemingly great property we looked at “had great water rights” we were told. “Then why does it have cisterns all over the place?” we asked ourselves. A deep check of the deeds and talking with neighbors unveiled the fact that what’s on paper does not always match precedent and reality. There were water rights on paper, yes, but they were disputed by numerous neighbors who had for years continually cut the water lines every time the current owner installed them. It was just pure luck that we were suspicious and turned down this property, which still has not sold.
Buying agricultural property is not like buying urban property from a title point of view. There are no rural land registers, so deeds have to be carefully researched by an attorney.
Finally if you buy it… what’s next? Who do you hire. What do you grow… who buys the crops?
Yet because there has been such interest, I challenged Jean Marie Butterlin to create an Ecuador Agricultural tour. He has been working hard at this for over 6 months, and I am proud to announce that he has set up an excellent program for those who are really interested in farming in Ecuador.
Here is what Jean Marie has explained about the Ecuador real estate tours he has created and conducted.
When I was 40 years old and told my friends that I would retire at 50, they were laughing. They are not laughing anymore!
My name is Jean Marie Butterlin and I live on one of the nicest, most affordable coasts of all South America with my wife Pascale and although I consider myself retired, I still like to work… but only at what I really like.
How did I achieve that ?
I had a plan.
Part of that plan was to move to a nice area where it was less expensive to live and much less stressful than Europe. I found that place after traveling and inspecting most South American countries. We chose Ecuador and more specifically Bahia as our home.
We live now as well on $2,000 a month in Bahia than we did in Europe on $10,000 a month.
When you are planning to retire and live the good life, you should look at both parts of the equation, expenses and what you can earn.I have been able to lower my expenses considerably by living in Bahia. We live in front of the Malecon enjoying the sun 320 days per year.
But the key to retirement is really in the INCOME part of the equation. How can you generate income without working too hard?
The answer is to have an “outside the box” plan. If you do what everybody else does, chances are you’ll earn what everyone else does.
A lot of younger clients on our real estate tours ask “How can I generate a little income in Ecuador”? They say they would move down immediately if they could. This started me thinking about how to show a few select clients a chance to be part of that world of retirees in Ecuador who work only at what they like.
I have put together a special plan for those seeking to move and earn in Ecuador now!
Here is the plan and here are the facts:
* Every economist is currently saying that agriculture will be the next place to invest because :
- God is not making more arable land.
- The world is running out of food. China has been buying and leasing arable land all over Africa and in South America for example. A lot of the smart money is going into arable all over the continent.
* Ecuador has some of the cheapest yet best agricultural land in all of South America. The climate is best for growing as well with 365 days a year of direct sunlight. In many parts of Ecuador, farmers can get 3 and even 4 harvests per year, depending on the water available on the property.
* However, most Ecuadorian farmers have not yet learned how to produce and manage a farm. They are lacking higher education and management skills as well as equipment. Some Ecuador farmers still plow with oxen.
* Many Ecuadorian farmers do not know how to sell and do not treat the farm as a real business.
There is a great opportunity that lies in this combination of cheap, arable land, the geographical place of Ecuador on the equator and lack of good agronomical skills.
Here is the chance to attend the first agri business expedition, planned for October 17, 18 and 19.
This is a tour for those who want to have an active agricultural business in Ecuador and have $100,000 minimum to invest.
This tour will be conducted over three long, jam packed days to provide you a low cost efficient way to inspect Ecuador agricultural property that is legitimately for sale at a reasonable price.
Day 1 – 9 am to 6 pm: Detailed presentations by agri engineers and specialists of several type of agri businesses. These presentations include costs, types of soils for each type of crop, risk analysis, potential profits, timing, where to find the buyers of crops, introduction to buyers looking for specific crops.
On the tour we look “outside the box” at crops that can for example produce “biofuel”. We’ll look at land where one company in Manta will buy every available crop at market price. We know the owners of that company and you will be introduced to them.
Day 2: Visits farms for sale. Here is one farm we inspected on our first tour. This agri property has 203 hectares (507 acres) divided into:
28 hectares (70 cares) of balsa trees. In 5 years these will fetch $30,000 a hectare.
30 hectares (75 acres) of African palm trees in production (the nuts fetch $250 per ton).
– 140 hectares (350 acres) of pasture sufficient for 200 head of cattle or other crops that can produce an excellent return.
– 3 small
and one large river along the property with water availability.
– Close to the main road
– $6600/hectare ($2,640 an acre) asking including a small casita for caretakers.
Day 3: Q&A’s with the agri specialists…with round table discussions. We break into small groups to discuss in more details each business its costs and potential profits.
We have inspected and investigated all properties prior paying special attention to three special issues:
* water on site
* access roads
* good port close
We only show land that has water in Manabi province near Manta the second largest port in Ecuador.
We have investigated electricity, pricing and title plus will have speakers during breakfast and dinners who will discuss these issues and the legal matters pertaining to agri businesses in Ecuador.
These experts will be available for consulting during the tour and later… covering technical matters on which crops are best suited for each soil and what times of the year are best for planting and harvest. The tour pays special attention to reviewing the marketing aspect of each crop and where to find buyers.
We use our contacts with local people were born in the area… who know the land owners… who know what the “market” price should be and we do not show farmland where the seller is asking an unrealistic price or if there are any doubts about ownership or clear title.
We also provide administration, accounting and legal consultants who will answer questions about owning and running a company in Ecuador, a civil code country and very different from the US and Canada which run on common law.
Included in the tour fee:
* Agri engineers who can help you start your business, provide services and the follow up.
* Legal experts in incorporation, administration accounting etc..
* Experts in marketing agricultural crops.
Although we do not advise being absentee owner, we can provide all the services needed to run the business with our agricultural team.
If your agricultural knowledge is limited, we have the experts who will help you through the learning curve.
The big Question is “How much can someone make in agri business in Ecuador?”
The Answer: We will not show any businesses that do not produce on a regular basis at least 10% net return. Many agri businesses you will see can pay off land costs within 1 to 2 years.
For efficiency and logistics, this tour is strictly limited to 16 people… 4 persons per four wheel drive vehicle.
Ecuador has many Agricultural Advantages and we have been recommending the idea of investing in Ecuador agriculture for years.
Here is an excerpt from an April 10, 2007 message at this site entitled “Ecuador Agriculture”: Ecuador agriculture can offer a better lifestyle and opportunity as good prices rise. Sometimes we forget the importance of life’s basics…such as food. Until those basics cost more.
Ecuador agriculture is important because Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal included an article that began: “Prices of farm goods are climbing – in part because of demand for crop-based fuels – pushing up food prices around the world and creating a new source of inflationary pressure. The rise in food prices is already causing distress among consumers in some parts of the world — especially relatively poor nations like India and China. If the trend gathers momentum, it could contribute to slower global growth by forcing consumers to spend less on other items or spurring central banks to fight inflation by raising interest rates.”
This is one of the wonderful benefits of Ecuador agriculture, the extreme supply of excellent but low cost food.
Ecuador is a Garden of Eden and here is a fact you probably did not know. The inhabitants of this region developed more than half the agricultural products that the world eats today. Among these are more than many varieties of corn and potato. These foods also include squash, beans, peppers, peanuts, popcorn, yucca and quinoa.
They even learned to use freezing night temperatures and warm days to freeze dry potatoes and create potato flour.
At the market, three blocks from our hotel where we shop. Open air restaurants in the front of the market offer excellent meals, vegetarian, or chicken, steak, fish or pork for about $1.
There are numbers of fresh picked vegetables offered by happy friendly people.
And every type of fruit you can imagine, from pineapple to coconut, papaya, mango, apples, pears, bananas, berries and numerous other tropical fruits all at bargains prices by Western standards and ripe all year round.
Many exotic spices at a 1/20th the cost in the US or Canada. This makes life especially wonderful and inexpensive.
This creates opportunity as well.
Ecuador’s geographical location gives it a distinct advantage in agricultural production. Its exports include asparagus, bananas, broccoli, cocoa, coffee, flowers, hearts of palm, lentils, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, plantain, mango, red beans, and tomatoes. Ecuador has mainly an agricultural economy, though oil is its largest source of revenue, and industry has expanded. Agriculture employs 32 percent of the workforce. 6.4 million acres is used in agriculture. Permanent pasture covers 17 percent of the total area and forests nearly 43 percent. In the highlands subsistence agriculture and the production of staples for the urban areas are predominant (corn, wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, and various vegetables). In the coastal lowlands tropical crops are grown to export. Ecuador is the largest exporter of bananas in the world and among the largest exporters of shrimp and roses.
Merri and I have been recommending Ecuador for almost 15 years…we have been recommending investing in agricultural property for even longer. Agricultural property in Ecuador makes excellent sense for those who like both ideas. We are very pleased that Jean Marie has created this excellent tour. We are happy to share this opportunity with you.
Tour price includes local transportation to the farms but does not include domestic airfare from Quito to Manta and lodging. Meals are NOT included.
For efficiency and logistics this tour is strictly limited to 16 people… 4 persons per four wheel drive vehicle.
Who Will Benefit From This Tour
Attendees on this tour will range from those who want their own sustainable organic farm like Neverlands Farm in Loja to those who want a small agricultural property to enhance existing income… to those who want to run medium and larger agri businesses.
Small – Organic – Sustainable
Neverland Organic Farms is a great case study of people creating an isolated sustainable organic farm
Income Supplement – Beautiful Way of Life
A good case study for those looking for a way of life and income supplement is this six acre organic tomato farm that delegates on on a real estate tour visited. This shows a perfect little Ecuador retirement operation, so where should we start?
I think it is with the guinea pigs…
The farm has many of them in these cages.
Clover on the farm feeds them. Their manure helps organically fertilize the corn.
The corn husks are mixed with manure to be used as fertilizer and the corn feeds the…
All of these animals create more organic fertilizer that this farmer uses to grow tomatoes.
Here is the Ecuador organic farmer with our driver Jorge, Alberto Verdezoto and Peggy Carper.
Tomatoes grow quickly here it seems. These newly planted organic tomatoes will be ready in three weeks. I find this hard to believe but this is what the farmer said. Though my Spanish has been known to miss on occasion.
These will look like…
would provide a nice retirement income… $25,000 a year we are told.
Other benefits include farm fresh eggs.
Trout are in the ponds next to the pigeon coops.
A good case study for a specific and large Ecuador agri operation is the farming operation set up by Young Living Essential oils.
After creating a marketing system for the oils and farming in the USA, Gary and his wife…
moved to Ecuador… began a large farming operation as well as…
there own processing and a health spa.
Ecuador is a perfect place for many types of agriculture… large and small. Find your farm in the safe and efficient way on an Ecuador Agricultural Tour.
Included in the price is all transportation from the hotel to the farms. Airfares to, from and within Ecuador, hotels and meals are NOT included.
For efficiency and logistics this tour is strictly limited to 16 people… 4 persons per four wheel drive vehicle.