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Jim Rogers saw the writing on the wall for America several years ago. He uprooted his wife and family from New York and went where the opportunity was Singapore. Rogers has famously said that the best career advice he can give a young person setting out to make a fortune today is to become a farmer.
Unlike some news anchors, who seem to take the comment in jest, I believe he is completely serious. Forget investment banking, derivatives trading, or managing a hedge fund. The big fortunes of the coming decade or two may well be made in agriculture.
Those quick to dismiss the notion assume this means toiling in the fields all day from dawn to dusk. Wrong. There are MANY ways of making a buck in farming and agriculture.
Farming itself is just one part of the supply chain. You could supply seeds, chemicals, fertilizer or stock feed. You could breed some exotic variety of cattle or pigs. You could provide logistics services to get products to market. You could even set up a fund to invest in agribusinesses on behalf of others.
There are literally dozens of ways to play this.
I just finished reading an uplifting account of a young Filipino entrepreneur (only thirty-one years old) whos well on the way to floating his diversified agribusiness company on the Philippine Stock Exchange for P2 BILLION ($46.5 million).
In just 7 years, hes grown the company, which does everything from selling livestock feed, to running rural supplies stores, to raising chicken hatchlings.
Annual sales have increased 9-fold from P200 million to P1.8 billion. Profits this year should hit P137 million based on company projections. By 2013 theyre targeting P425 million. Thats US$10 million, give or take, in net profit, all from doing something very basic.
Put simply, so little new blood and talent has entered the agriculture business in the past generation that many business practices remain stuck in a time warp.
How many people do you know who majored in agricultural science at university? How may people can you think of who stayed on to run their parents farm, or returned to the land to run their own business?