A biofermentation company called Fufeng Group is based in mainland China.
They just bought 300 acres of farmland in North Dakota for $2.6 million so they can build a milling plant.
It’s just the latest in a long string of agricultural real estate purchases by the Chinese in America. So far they own 191,000 acres here.
That sounds like a lot, but it’s just a drop in the bucket of the 897 million acres that foreigners own in America, comprising 2.7% of all our farmland.
But those other countries don’t get all the bad press. Canada is the largest foreign owner of US land, with 4.7 million acres. The Netherlands is second, with 4.6 million.
We know that 1.2% of Montana farmland, or 697,000 acres, was owned by foreigners in 2018. Most of that takes place in Rosebud County, where 145,000 acres are owned. Belgium is the largest foreign company to operate here, with 222,000 acres.
Most of that land they’re buying is pasture or rangeland.
In addition to all the farmland, Chinese citizens own tons of real estate, mainly houses and apartments. In 2019 alone, those folks spent $4.5 billion on 6,300 different properties around the country. Typically, over 20,000 residential properties are sold to the Chinese each year.
The Chinese need all this farmland because they can’t feed their people.
They don’t have enough corn and soybeans growing in their own country to feed all the pigs they raise to feed their people.
It’s also important to remember that much of the genetic stock for the pigs China has comes from Europe and Australia.
The country’s in a real bind. They have a serious problem with an aging population and not enough young people to take care of them, or grow their food. So they have to import. That takes a lot of money.
It’ll be interesting to see how this problem for them plays out. Growing food and raising babies are long-term endeavors. China has a serious disadvantage there.
The City of Missoula did such a poor job with their $1.3 million Caras Park redesign that they have to spend an additional $100,000 for shade structures.
It reminds me a lot of the boondoggle that happened with the redesign of Higgins Street Bridge, and animals getting their feet hot.
Why can’t we do anything right the first time?
The Missoulian did an interesting write-up of the city’s nearly 12% tax increase this year, deciding to interview two of the die-hard liberals that have been entrenched there for years, while ignoring the minority conservative voices.
Let’s take a look at the running total for city tax increases we started five years ago.
- 2019 was 4.85%
- 2018 it was 3.85%
- In 2017 taxes went up by 4.9%
- In 2016 taxes went up by 4.7%
- In 2015 taxes went up by 2.9%
- In 2014 taxes went up by 2.7%
- In 2013 taxes went up by 3.2%
- In 2012 taxes went up by...(can't find this one)
- In 2011 taxes went up by 3.5%
- In 2010 taxes went up by 0%
- In 2009 taxes went up by 4.8%
Since 2009, taxes in the City of Missoula have gone up by 35.4%.
We know the current tax year will see increases of around $45 for every $100,000 of a home’s value.
So most homes will pay at least $100 extra this year, probably more.
The Missoula Public Schools voted to increase substitute teacher pay to $14.50 an hour.
Those teachers are expected to work the full school day in most cases, around 6 to 8 hours.
If you work an athletic event for just a couple hours you’ll get $16 an hour.
It’s because we prioritize what’s important in Missoula. It’s not your kids' education.
I wonder…would you rather go into a room full of yelling and disrespectful kids all day that treat you like shit because you’re not their real teacher?
You’ll get a little more than $14 an hour to put up with that.
Or would you rather just go do fast food for $15 to $17 an hour, plus the possibility of some tips?
Which job would be worse…the disrespectful kids or the customers that don’t give a fuck about you?
At least with the latter you’ll make more money.
That’s what the schools in Missoula tell us - fast food workers are more critical for the community than someone to fill in for a teacher when they get sick.
But this shouldn’t really come as a surprise, considering for years and years we were one of the worst states to be a teacher in, with the worst starting salary.
The head of the teacher’s union didn’t give a fuck. She makes $125,000 a year.
I wondered how regular Missoulians felt about this, so put up a poll on Reddit about it. Here are the results: