When my grandfather was alive, I would have long conversations with him about dozens of topics including life, business, fairness and the importance of family. I remember our last conversation like it was yesterday….and because of the state of Michigan’s economy, I am reminded of it everyday.
I sat with him at his kitchen table as he prepared to move both himself and my grandmother from his home in the little town of Hubbard, Iowa (population 247 to an assisted living facility 10 miles away. He had either given or sold everything that could not fit in a small trailer and was preparing to leave his home for the last time.
He pulled a deed from a small wooden box and showed me what he and his brothers had paid for the farmland that he still owned and leased to local farmers. They had paid $500 an acre. I asked him what it was worth now and he said, “$2,500 and dropping. There is no future in farming,” he said. I could not argue.
My point? Today, that same acre of farmland is worth roughly $7,000 dollars. Why? Because it is located just 15 miles from one of the largest ethanol plants in the country.
So on those days when I wake up doubting the future of Michigan and feel that “farming” is dead, I am reminded of that last conversation with my grandfather. Its not dead, its just ready to be reborn.