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"[Question:] "How big is John's operation now?"
     "Oh, John's right at 1,600 acres, I think. Somewhere in there."
     [Question:] "And at the time you got out, how much were you farming?"
     "Oh, let me think here.About a half section, 320 acres."
     [Question:] "So, from 300 to 1,600. That's a big change."
     "That's a very big change. Very big change. And do you know what? That's happening in our whole area. It's amazing. Right now, cash rent is booming, cash rent is booming because of the crops. What scares me a little bit is cash rent where it is and your input costs into agriculture. Our product is worth more, but do we have any more left when we get done? How much profit is there because everything is going so high? Fertilizer is going up. I can't tell you exactly because I don't keep track of it that close. But fertilizer is up, and all input costs. Seed corn, just absolutely horrendous what they're getting for seed corn. And so you take all those costs, I think it's really cutting the margin of profit down for all these guys. And it isn't necessarily – like son John – it isn't necessarily, how much can I farm? It's to justify the machinery, to justify the prices that he has to give for cash rent and things, that he has to have more to farm. I don't know that it's essentially maybe much more but it's forcing him and others to farm more ground in order to do that. Like right now, cash rent around here is at a premium. You can go just about anywhere in our neighborhood and somebody's waiting to rent something. That's strange, but it is."
     [Question:] "Some farmers that I was talking to say that even at John's level he's a small farmer."
     "That's right. Absolutely. Absolutely. Yes. That's true. That's what's hard. And John, you know he's in his 40s now. He's had a struggle, and a hard struggle, to get where's he's at. He's like myself. He's always been raised on a farm so that's why he struggles to stay in it. He was in the livestock business as well as farming, but he's no longer in the livestock business. So, he's strictly farming and helping us. Between the two, he's makes a go of it. I don't think he's getting rich, but he's making a go of it…
     "I'm not sure that's the total answer. You know, you handle more money when you're big and you handle a lot of money when you're big. But we go back to what we talked about before, what do you have left? So, you try and justify a new piece of equipment. I see some of the prices that some of these dealers have on some of the equipment they've got. You know, $200,000 for a combine, $200,000 for a tractor. And we're not talking about new. We're talking about something that's used. So, when you think about that. To me, I'm old-fashioned. But, that's scary. That's scary because, you know, if you buy a house for $200,00, you think that's high. Or I do anyway. Here you have one piece of equipment to do that. I think what we're doing is we're forcing these people to get bigger because they have to justify the equipment that they're using to do the farming with."

Hank Kobza – Logic of Large Farms

   

Excerpts from Hank Kobza’s Interview:

After Hank's Last Harvest
Hank's Auction Business
Women in Agriculture
Living in the Country
Internet Over Encyclopedias
Huge Farm Equipment