A Healthy Economy Begins With A Healthy Agriculture

There is much talk these days about how to “fix” the nation’s economic woes. Almost every proposed solution is flawed at the most basic and presuppositional level. Some believe that wealth is created by government programs or spending, others think it comes by printing paper money, but almost no one recognizes the most basic economic truth; “all wealth comes from the ground”.

In Defense Of A Solar Powered Economy

True economic growth and real increase begins with the sun, soil, and rain. Only in agriculture can we produce something, through God’s providence, that didn’t exist before. Let me give you an example of how this works. Let’s use a pasture-based dairy as an example…

A wonderful polyculture of grasses and legumes spring from the earth with nothing more than sunlight, soil, and rain.
A Healthy Economy

Add a dairy cow who eats her fill, lays down to rest, and chews her cud.
A Healthy Economy

Now, as if by a miracle, we harvest milk that previously did not exist.
A healthy Economy

Multiply this by 30 cows.
A Healthy Economy

So you might wonder how this effects the economy.

This milk enters the local economy and generates about $14,000 per dairy cow through the multiplier effect. From those who haul the milk, bottle the milk, and stock the store shelves to those who sell parts and supplies to farmers, many jobs are created that would not have been there if not for the sun, soil, rain, and cows. This wealth was a true increase and not an accounting sleight of hand.

Our economy moved away from a land based, raw materials economy a long time ago and replaced it with a consumer economy built on the fraud of fiat currency. Tim Wightman asks the question, How much money did the economy lose by moving to a consumer driven economy?

From 1952 to 1982 we have conservative estimates of five trillion dollars ($5,000,000,000,000) removed from the U.S. economy from the creation of the first Farm Bill and it’s upwards creation of the money flow. We moved the money out of the hands and purchasing power of the local economy to corporations, even though everyone lost out on the five trillion not produced in the process.

Again, according to Writman, agriculture is the king when it comes to the multiplying effect it has on the economy. Look at how the others stack up against the queen of all vocations…

Agricultural raw materials have a multiplier effect of seven.

All other raw materials like lumber, iron, brick etc. have a multiplier effect of three to five.

Big box chain stores have a multiplier effect of at best two

Tractor Supply

If we are serious about building a healthy and robust economy, it must begin with agriculture. There is really no other option. In 1769, Ben Franklin, in his Positions to be Examined Concerning National Wealth, concluded that there was only one morally acceptable way for a nation to create wealth. In his words..

There are but three ways for a nation to generate wealth….

1. By War, which permits taking by force the wealth of other nations.

2. By Trade, which to be profitable requires cheating. For example if we give and receive an equal amount of goods and services through trade, there is no profit other than that obtained in our own production cycle.

3. By Agriculture, through which we plant the seeds and create new wealth as if by miracle.

It’s still true today and the sooner we realize this the better!


One thought on “A Healthy Economy Begins With A Healthy Agriculture

  • May 16, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Hi Scott,

    How true!! I live in NE Indiana and live on a couple of acres of the small beef farm I grew up on. I also have a ‘day job’. In my experience, most of the folks I work with have no idea of what an agricultural economy, or even real agriculture looks like. When most of them think of ‘farm’ they think of some massive confinement operation they’ve driven by or of huge mono-crop operations with giant, new 4WD tractors or corn pickers that do 12 rows at a crack.

    It’s gonna be a long haul to re-educate folks on the befits of what a real agricultural economy looks like when most wouldn’t know real agriculture if they were standing in the middle of it. I agree that we gotta keep trying, though. For good or bad, I think we’ll get back to that one way or the other with some very hard times in between. Its only a matter of when, in my humble opinion.

    I love your podcast. Listening to you interview a guest or just talk about what’s going on in your farm has become like catching up with an old friend. God bless you, your family, your farm, and the things you do for the community.



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