Land has been reclaimed from ocean shores in the Netherlands, we already know, but farm land is coming back from the hands of the eeevvvilll developers.
The article relates, “…with crop prices soaring and housing in a deep slump, the economics of land investment have turned upside down. Farmers and investors are buying land that had been slated for development and using it for agriculture [again]. And they are paying a small fraction of what housing developers paid for the same land before the recession.”
IFO has seen this phenomenon in person. As some readers know, she covers business in her neck of the woods, which includes the woods and mills. She saw a decades-old sawmill, Fort Hill Lumber, disappear from the face of the earth. Its owners had desperately tried to save it, then they decided it must be demolished. The land was cleaned up, and is now ready for some new use.
She saw the same thing when the local U.S. Plywood mill was removed. Nobody is using the land yet, but the property is ready for a new use.
She saw the same thing with the Willamina Brick Plant. You can’t even see where it used to be. Only the oldtimers know that.
Any land use can be converted to any other land use, although in Oregon that is more difficult than in other places. It’s easy to let something be demolished, but with the introduction of draconian land use laws in the 1970s, building something new has become much harder.
Oregon farmers supported those land use laws, because most of them thought that once the land went out of agricultural use, it was gone forever. Now we see that is not true.
Investment lesson: nothing is forever.