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I had no idea. I didn’t know any of this.

On a slightly different note, I’m still quite upset about the recent ruling allowing college athletes to make money with endorsements. In other words, they get to go to college for free, get incredible benefits, and then can also make money. This seems incredibly unfair to other students. I think if a college athlete makes money on endorsements then they should have to pay their tuition. The funding of athletics has always come at the cost of the humanities. And I deeply believe we need the humanities more than we need college athletics. But you know, build the Colosseum to entertain the masses and keep them distracted. 😞

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I have a separate essay in the works about NIL. It says something that even elite coaches are retiring early because of how transactional the transfer portal and NIL deals have become. The influencer model is a related issue. I don't know how many male athletes make big bucks as social media influencers (need to do more research on that), but for women the calculus skews toward sexist standards. The cheerleader/popular type does very well (see the Miami Twins or Olivia Dunne). One of their teammates with a larger body or a more serious academic bent or (fill in the blank) is not going to rake in six figures or more on social media. I'd wager that the same is largely true for men. Whoever was thought of as the hottest and most popular in high school (the QBs, running backs, wide receivers in football) will do very well with NIL. Offensive linemen not so much. <-- These are hypotheses, though, rather than empirical claims.

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I look forward to reading that piece and seeing what the research shows!

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I would like to give a shout-out to Von Miller, who studied poultry science at Texas A&M and now has a full fledged poultry operation! Definitely the exception. 🐔 https://billswire.usatoday.com/2022/04/21/buffalo-bills-von-miller-own-chicken-wings/

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That is a much better example of the land grant mission :). Although the truth is that few Texas A&M grads who didn't inherit land or acquire wealth from other sources would be able to afford to purchase an entire farm or build that kind of capital from within the industry. Which is part of the challenge agriculture is facing in replacing aging farmers with the next generation.

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This is shocking. But also not. The cynicism of college athletics.

I taught a course on plant genetic engineering, so often view the hidden costs of big agriculture through the lens of GMOs. The argument is often made that genetically engineered crops will save resources, but the energy used and plastic produced during R & D, the jet fuel for researchers to travel to promote their work, etc. are not considered.

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How interesting. I suspect that the externalities in GMO production are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to industrial agriculture. I have some friends who now live in Virginia who once ran a large organic vegetable farm in Iowa. We had many conversations about economic viability, how some level of mechanization was necessary, etc. The lead farmer was really smart about competing with big agriculture, even the big organic brands in California. He'd talk about how hand harvesting kale requires the same amount of time regardless of the scale of the farm, and so he could compete price-wise with imported kale at the local co-ops and grocery stores. But he was put out of business, in part, by a new Trader Joe's in Iowa City. There are always tradeoffs with convenience and low prices -- someone somewhere pays the difference.

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The tip of the iceberg, indeed!

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Yes for lettuce jokes!! 😁

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😂

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Apr 25, 2023Liked by Joshua Doležal

The larger the farm the harder the failure. Costs to operate large farms are increasing and subsidies from a bankrupted country are decreasing. But more concerning is the reduction of soil fertility.

Its a pig in a poke, investors having no idea what is happening on the ground.

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This year's Farm Bill is still being hashed out, and according to predictions about subsidy decreases you may be right. But the model is in fact being shifted to ad hoc disaster relief. So the investment in farmland is still insured by the federal government in ways that few assets are. I suppose even if the subsidies drop, that does not diminish the irony of the land grant university connection. But perhaps you are suggesting that the investment may not be as lucrative as Patricof Co expects?

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Apr 25, 2023·edited Apr 25, 2023Liked by Joshua Doležal

Could have a high profit year at any time. Lots of variables to consider. I highlight the overall trends, subsidies that don't keep up with rising costs and the elephant in the room is declining soil fertility. Hard for me to believe large farms are a worthy long term investment.

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I hear you about soil fertility. I suppose it is possible that more scarcity will only increase land value, however? Iowans are already suffering terribly from the excess nutrients pumped into poor soils. Nearly 800 impairments of waterways across the state as of last year. Forgive me if I'm stating the obvious :)

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Higher land values adds to the cost! Your point only applies to land with fertility remaining...

There is a point at which less production will effect the operation. Already land is being abandoned about the planet by the millions of acres a year. Relevant article: https://fdcenterprises.com/the-problem-with-abandoned-farmland/

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Reminds me somewhat of "investments" in hospitals. Must everything have a profit motive? It's unhealthy.

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Interesting example. There are probably a lot of things in my retirement portfolio that have externalities that I’m unaware of. True for almost everyone who is not a financial expert. What I think is different about this is the involvement of federal funds and the knowable externalities to rural communities, which I think offsets the public benefit in food production. Do you think hospitals help their communities more than hurt them?

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