News from the Secretary

News from the Secretary By Larry Gabriel S.D. Secretary of Agriculture Is your farm for sale?

Many owners of farms and ranches are being asked if their place is for sale. Some of us simply say, "My ranch is not for sale. Not at any price."

It is a normal cycle. When paper investments do poorly for several years and money is cheap, the land speculators show up on the prairie offering silly prices for farm or ranch land.

It is happening now. Those of us who make a living off the land know that paying 20 or 30 times the annual return on capital for land is not


These "false" prices drive up land costs for new farmers and ranchers and increase taxes for others. The legislature (with some success) has tried many times and in many ways to lessen the tax impact of speculative buying.

It is a real shocker to some of these buyers when they visit a place that's "not for sale." Some people think everything is for sale if the price is outrageous enough. It might go like this:

"Sir, I represent a group that is interested in buying your place. I would like to come in and discuss it with you if I could," said the agent.

"You are welcome to come in for coffee if you want, but my place ain't for sale," the rancher replied.

"I understand that you have not thought about selling, but haven't you ever thought about all the things you could do for your family and places you could go if you were rich?"


"But you could have anything you wanted."

"I've already got that."

"But you could do anything you wanted to do."

"I'm doing that."

"But you could live in any style that you wanted to live."

"I'm doing that too."

"But you could live any place in the world you wanted to live."

"I'm already here. Look here son! You need to figure out there are two kinds of landowners. There's one group that owns land, and a second group that are of the land. That second group can't sell the land. The land owns them."

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