Feed on

Numerous messages have looked at micro business opportunities in farming.

I was thinking about the value of having a micro business in agriculture when the trip tickets from our orange grove recently arrived.  These tickets are the receipts that truckers provide when picking up oranges harvested from the grove for delivery to the packing house.

My thinking ran along the lines of  “We can earn more and make a difference to health and the environment in small but important ways”.

Before we purchased the grove in the 2009-2010 season the harvest was 1801 boxes of navel oranges.

The grove looked like this.


We took over and started an improvement program immediately bringing in big machines like this to…


move palms out the grove and rip out 666 not very productive orange trees.  This left the grove looking like…


this with.

About one third of our grove gone.

We sprayed the remaining orange trees with the totally bio degradable Bio Wash once in the 2010-201 year. (Use of Bio Wash acts like a plant booster and can help reduce the need for fertilizers and insecticides so the crop can become pesticide free.)

The Trip Tickets showed our harvest rising to 2,484… despite still having only 2/3rds as many trees as in 2009-2010.

In other words yield per tree doubled!

“Is this a fluke?” we asked.

Our grove manager is one of the largest in Florida.  Farmers are conservative so our dinky 12 acres will have to do more than this to make them look at this seriously.

So we asked them to spray with Bio Wash twice in 2011-2012. We did and now the harvest is in with … trip tickets for 3,394 boxes… though we still only have 2/3rd as many producing trees as 2009-2010.  Production is up from one box a tree in 2009-2010 to 2.83 boxes this year.  With strong citrus prices I expect to have tripled the grove’s profit… while making the grove more environmentally friendly and perhaps letting the big boys in this business at least take a glance.

Now the grove managers are listening a bit more and we’ll spray with Bio Wash four times this year.

Earning income is always important…. even more so in today’s economically tough regime. Being able to earn while improving the world’s food supply and helping the environment is even more important.

An excerpt from a June 4th 2011 New York Times article “A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself” by Justin Gillis helps explain the importance of a micro food revolution when it says says:  CIUDAD OBREGÓN, Mexico — The dun wheat field spreading out at Ravi P. Singh’s feet offered a possible clue to human destiny. Baked by a desert sun and deliberately starved of water, the plants were parched and nearly dead.

Photo from NYT article by Josh Haner/The New York Times.  Captioned “Victor Valenzuela selects wheat plants for breeding”

The excerpt continues: The rapid growth in farm output that defined the late 20th century has slowed to the point that it is failing to keep up with the demand for food, driven by population increases and rising affluence in once-poor countries.

Consumption of the four staples that supply most human calories — wheat, rice, corn and soybeans — has outstripped production for much of the past decade, drawing once-large stockpiles down to worrisome levels. The imbalance between supply and demand has resulted in two huge spikes in international grain prices since 2007, with some grains more than doubling in cost.

Now, the latest scientific research suggests that a previously discounted factor is helping to destabilize the food system: climate change.

Temperatures are rising rapidly during the growing season in some of the most important agricultural countries, and a paper published several weeks ago found that this had shaved several percentage points off potential yields, adding to the price gyrations.

For nearly two decades, scientists had predicted that climate change would be relatively manageable for agriculture, suggesting that even under worst-case assumptions, it would probably take until 2080 for food prices to double.

In part, they were counting on a counterintuitive ace in the hole: that rising carbon dioxide levels, the primary contributor to global warming, would act as a powerful plant fertilizer and offset many of the ill effects of climate change.

Until a few years ago, these assumptions went largely unchallenged. But lately, the destabilization of the food system and the soaring prices have rattled many leading scientists.

A scramble is on to figure out whether climate science has been too sanguine about the risks. Some researchers, analyzing computer forecasts that are used to advise governments on future crop prospects, are pointing out what they consider to be gaping holes. These include a failure to consider the effects of extreme weather, like the floods and the heat waves that are increasing as the earth warms.

A rising unease about the future of the world’s food supply came through during interviews this year with more than 50 agricultural experts working in nine countries.

These experts say that in coming decades, farmers need to withstand whatever climate shocks come their way while roughly doubling the amount of food they produce to meet rising demand. And they need to do it while reducing the considerable environmental damage caused by the business of agriculture.

Agronomists emphasize that the situation is far from hopeless. Examples are already available, from the deserts of Mexico to the rice paddies of India, to show that it may be possible to make agriculture more productive and more resilient in the face of climate change. Farmers have achieved huge gains in output in the past, and rising prices are a powerful incentive to do so again.

But new crop varieties and new techniques are required, far beyond those available now, scientists said. Despite the urgent need, they added, promised financing has been slow to materialize, much of the necessary work has yet to begin and, once it does, it is likely to take decades to bear results.

“There’s just such a tremendous disconnect, with people not understanding the highly dangerous situation we are in,” said Marianne Bänziger, deputy chief of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, a leading research institute in Mexico.

“What a horrible world it will be if food really becomes short from one year to the next,” he said. “What will that do to society?”

Anyone interested in earning through agriculture can make a difference.  None of us in micro businesses will make a big noise.  Our 12 acres of oranges is so tiny but the story even when the successes are as small as ours… when combined with many other small achievements… can add an important overall picture.

Investing in the environment and investing in agriculture simply makes sense in these stagflationary times.  When such investments also help the environment and natural health, the return on investment goes way beyond a good bottom line.


Here are two ways we help readers invest or have micro businesses in agriculture.

#1: Learn how to have a turnkey business with Bio Wash: Earn as you mitigate environmental damage.

#2: See below how to find your own organic farm in Ecuador for as little as $100,000.

Ecuador Agricultural Tour Report

Here is a report on the 1st Agri-Expedition in Bahia, Ecuador from Jean Marie Butterlin.

We just finished  our first agriculture tour!  Our delegates have seen many properties during 2 days of bumpy road rides all over the province of Manabi.

They also spent one full day listening to our expert agriculture engineers, who revealed their secrets on how to make a very profitable businesses in Manabi.  Each of our engineers graduated from prestigeous agri-universities, taught as professors at agri-universities and are all involved themselves in their own agri-businesses.  Certainly these experts have put their money where their mouth is.

They explained why they were planting specific crops on specific farms at a specific time, and revealed the 3 pitfalls many small farmers fall into.  The delegates were able to get straight answers to all hard questions including risk management, water management, transportation, buyers, etc…

Most importantly the experts addressed all the pros and cons of each crop they presented.  They have not only vast experiences, coming from many years being farmers, they know how and where to sell at the highest prices. There is one important factor bigger than all other combined, that they shared with our clients, that will make sure you get the highest return.

Manabi has great potential as it is one of the undiscovered agriland, that has very fertile soil, water and so much sun with many short cycle crops.  Farmers can get 3 to 4 harvests/year.

Where else in the world can you achieve that?

The key IS the client, explained one expert,  “We know the clients that are eager to buy the crop. So you plant only a crop that is PRE-sold when harvesting time comes.”

I found this very interesting and helpful. They talked at length about the distribution network in Ecuador and why most small farmers do not make the money they should.

When the experts showed their spreadsheets on costs and income (real not estimates) for each crop, our delegates were stunned as they realized that they could make enough profit to pay back the land usually in less than 2 years.

Where else can you get those kind of returns ?

ecuador-agricultural-real estate

All properties shown to our clients have water on the farm. A lot of the farms are producing and most have a house for the caretaker/guard.

Here is a  sample of properties our clients have seen with some pictures that might be deceiving as the soil might seem arid.  At the time when the pics were made, there was just a lot of harvesting being finished and next planting is beginning ahead of the 4 months rainy season, which avoids irrigation during the early growth of the plant.

90 hectares. Close to San Vicente.  Price: $160,000

ecuador-agricultural-real estate

ecuador-agricultural-real estate

40 hectares with river that never dries up. Price: $58,000.

ecuador-agricultural-real estate

23 hectares, mostly high hills,  Nice Price: $40,000.

ecuador-agricultural-real estate

140 hectares with a river runs right next to it all year long, great for many type of trees, bamboo plantations, short cycle crops and cattle ; Price: $195,000

ecuador-agricultural-real estate

44 hectares in Briceño, which has 2.78 hectares of plantains that are currently producing.  Price: $140,000

ecuador-agricultural-real estate

24 hectares. It has cacao, papaya, passion fruit, plantains, etc Price: $48,000

ecuador-agricultural-real estate

470 hectares, specially good for passion fruit, plantains, cashew, balsa wood, etc.  Price: $1,500,000

ecuador-agricultural-real estate

50 hectares, specially good for papaya, passion fruit, balsa wood Price: $200,000

ecuador-agricultural-real estate

Our delegates saw unusual crops like local Bamboo, that brings a very nice return and grows extremely quickly.

They were informed about the latest innovation in shrimp farming that doubles production, brings also 30% more $/lb and lowers cost by 40% (only 2 farms are using this new method AND it was presented to our clients not only in theory but they actually saw the shrimp farm).

ecuador-agricultural tour

Most importantly they were presented with the symbiosis cultivation techniques, whereby 2 crops are planted together and which help each other grow for more cash flow, better yield.

ecuador-agricultural-real estate

Workshops with Ecuador Ag specilists.

ecuador-agricultural-real estate

But risk management is another key factor : several crops are planted on a farm with different cycle length to improve cash flow.

Our clients have learned that hills on a farm are a PLUS and not a minus.

We saw many properties in an exhausting schedule but…

ecuador-agricultural-real estate

the tour was not all work.
We are offering also to our clients a management package with a share of net profits so they have nothing to do…. ; we do everything with their approval from deciding which crop is going to be planted and when, up to taking care of the crop, harvesting and most importantly SELLING at the highest price and also accounting, tax returns etc…an ALL-IN ONE package.

The next agri expedition is scheduled for March 26, 27, 28 in 2012 ; space is limited to a maximum of 15 clients.

Price is $1,997 per person $2,997 couple ; it does not include food and lodging or domestic airfare from Quito to Manta (about $200).

Jean Marie

Get enrollment details for the Ecuador agricultural tours here

See more about investing in farms at www.garyascott.com/2011/09/10/16038.html

Read the entire NYT article:  A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself