Putters to Ploughshares

I am always looking for events that shed light on trends that can make us some money, and I recently heard about a significant happening in the suburbs of Minnesota’s Twin Cities.

Silver Springs Golf Course in Monticello, Minnesota, shut down in 2009. Its two 18-hole courses and 18,000 square foot clubhouse that could hold a party for 400 were on the market for $11.9 million.

Over the last couple weeks huge woodchippers ate the trees and Caterpillars murdered the grass. Five-hundred-eighteen acres of fairways greens and sand traps were being prepared for corn and soybean cultivation. Welcome to the world of $7.50 corn and $13.75 soybeans—near record prices. It would not be surprising to see prices go up further with the floods in the Corn Belt and a drought in Russia.

For the machining world, the hot agriculture markets overlap the mining and energy booms, which are fueling a boom in hydraulics for tractors and earthmoving, and even woodchipping machinery.

If you’re looking for what’s hot, head for the Dakotas or rural Pennsylvania. Both are places with arable land and shale gas that can be reached economically with horizontal drilling. Even though natural gas is historically cheap at $4.70 per million BTU, the economics of drilling for gas are still extremely profitable. If gas becomes a viable transportation fuel, like it should, it will be a giant bonanza for the drillers who are tiring of the 90 percent take of confiscatory foreign governments.

If you’re interested in the stock market, I would short Calloway Golf and buy Cat.

Question: Is it possible to be a farmer and a fulltime machinist?

From the Film Caddy Shack

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5 thoughts on “Putters to Ploughshares

  1. Steve Horn

    Living near Monticello I’ve played this coarse many times. It’s about time they shut it down and did something usefull with the land. The greens were so large you could have got 200 bushel’s of corn off one. It did bring your hit green percentage up however. For that I have missed the coarse.

    There are a ton of Farmers that work secondary jobs as machnist. I guess that you need something to do in the winter. With the crop prices the way they are perhaps they’ll quit.

  2. Ray Escandon

    Someday, I will find the time to learn there is another world out there besides the energy sector and the oil filed industry, if I a ever do, perhaps i wont have to work around the clock to buy and sell machinery.
    maybe i would just play golf if I ever had the extra time.

  3. Rick

    Great blog, Lloyd! By the way, I am a part-time farmer, (my 50 acres of alfalfa adjoin the golf course) and my gopher control antics would make Bill Murray proud!

  4. Bruce Renwick

    Just a few years back, I would guess 4 to 5 years, an aged and tired golf course in our area was sold to housing developers. It was supposed to be prime subdivided property. It now sits deserted with a few black-top roads and abandoned construction items. Maybe farming will be the next “bubble” that would lead us out of this shaky economy.
    I did know of a hand full of men, while I was employed and Greenlee Brothers that would work the night shift in the shop and then run the family farm during the day. I could never see how they could handle all that work, but they were also the ones that retired well and seemed their families were never without what they needed.

  5. David Dillion

    It is possible. My day yesterday started at 6:30…I slept in because of the late night in the shop. Seems all of my orders were due on the same day. Every one needed their parts at the same time. Mother nature also gave us our second day of planting weather in two weeks. I gave my two year old his last tractor ride of the day at 10 PM. Needless to say my day ended at midnight. My worst cutomer was the only one upset with getting his parts a day late. Companies are waiting till the last possible moment to order stuff these days. Deliveries are near impossible sometimes. But I am even grumpier when my shelves are empty.


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