Saturday, October 8, 2011

How to create Millions of Sustainable Jobs within a Year

for a background to this one.

Some of my earlier posts have alluded to the possibility of a return to land as a way of creating jobs in developed economies such as that of the USA that is trying to deal with this issue. The last post described a layout of farmlands in designed narrow strips so as to minimize some of the hardships faced by rural communities. May I call these AM farms for convenience here.

Let us consider a fifty into fifty mile irrigated land area divided up into AM farms and try and estimate roughly the expenses for creating them and the number of jobs that might be created by doing so. It would be necessary to divide the landmass into a grid of roads that are a mile apart in order to provide road access to all the farms for the purpose.

One square mile of land area results in 50 AM farms laid back to back and facing two roads that are a mile apart. Each of these farms would be a little over ten acres in size. Thus a fifty into fifty square mile area would create 125000 AM farms. However allowing for about 20% of the area for a central township and some natural common areas let us say a 100,000 AM farms are created in our chosen land area. If these farms work as modern intensive farms, each farm may generate direct and indirect employment for up to ten adults i.e that would create a million jobs. This is only first estimate but a more careful detailed study is likely to produce a similar result.

However a jobless person with little or no money can hardly be asked to move to a farming enterprise and make a success of it, even if they are interested. The infrastructure has to be created, training provided and an initial grant (that includes a starter cottage on the farm with electricity, water and gas connection) is the minimum required. If we assume an initial expense of 100, 000 dollars per farm then these 100, 000 farms would cause an initial expense of ten billion dollars – a small amount compared to the 400 billion dollar job creation plan that is being proposed in USA nowadays and very small compared to a trillion dollar bank bailout. Even creating ten such agricultural hubs across the USA would cost just 100 billion dollars and possibly create ten million jobs.

Some of the expenses incurred would be as a loan to the new farmers with their farmlands (and any present or future construction on it) as a collateral to be paid back in easy installments spread over twenty years beginning three years after allotment . Allotees would not be eligible for any social welfare benefits except for an initial settling allowance forcing them to produce or quit.  Not everyone is a good farmer. Those who cannot make a success of their farms would lose them eventually for allotment to new applicants. The central town may have an extension and training center with short courses in agricultural technologies such as orchard growing, mushroom growing, beekeeping, poultry, blue water fish farming and diary industries etc.

If such farms were created would there be a market for all the extra farm produce? For sure there would be. The population of our planet is now over seven billion strong and rising food prices are an issue all over the world.

More details of AM farms is provided in the next post.  The present proposal of designing farms in narrow strips and permitting the roadside for construction would add some of the advantages of urban life to rural area and remove its main disadvantage i.e scattered farm houses.  

This proposal is a quick rough plan. Its details can easily be modified/revised/improved by available experts if necessary.

A different proposal in this blog on adding the advantages of rural living to urban areas in a green hybrid city is also described in this blog at

Photo: Hen by Bobby Mikul from

UPDATE 2014:

Since this post was published, more recent work has been done on the concept to develop designs for post-modern villages that employ the strip farm concept. Do check this out


Vincent said...

I admire the vision and concern that leads to such a carefully thought plan. I can't see it happening, but am not qualified to analyse why. But have you been reading Hayden's blog I don't know how many acres she has, and I know she can invest money in them without needing immediate return. She believes strongly in old-fashioned methods and so forth.

ashok said...

Vincent, the reason for making the title in uppercase was precisely the hope that the proposal gets noticed.

ashok said...

Vincent. This plan is only for younger persons, no more than forty who have no other means of livelihood. Farms require hard work that becomes difficult past sixty and if one has other means of livelihood one can easily ignore the farm.

It does require a country to have lots of land resources and water sources for sure; therefore I do not think it is very feasible in our countries. It is countries like USA, Australia, Some South American and African countries that might find it worth considering.

The difficulty in USA and Europe is that much manufacturing is disappearing. Playing around with money, like debt, recapitalisations. Monetary easing etc. are money games with a limited life and in the long run it is necessary to produce to sustain an economy. Countries with large land resources must definitely consider agricultural production as a means of creating Jobs.

And as you said it might not happen, or, it might if this blog post catches the attention of a relevant planner and they start studying the proposal. The details would have to be worke out but that is not difficult for goverment experts.

Andorina said...

I remember fairly recently, and I suspect they are still in effect, the U.S. government giving farmers incentives to not farm. They were actually paying them not to grow, which may explain one potential problem with this plan.

John Myste said...

Hmmm, I was going to say virtually the exact same thing, only with less certainty.

ashok said...

Andorina, John,

What could be the reason for US goverment discouraging farmers?

I know that there was some trouble with small farmers earlier but that may have been because of the interests of the large farmer lobby.

John Myste said...

Paying farmers not to grow crops was a substitute for agricultural price support programs designed to ensure that farmers could always sell their crops for enough to support themselves.

I looked it up very quickly because times is short. I found this link here:

Farm Subsidy

I found several others on the topic I did not follow.

It keeps prices from dropping to low because of excessive supply. I think these subsidies are only for certain kinds of crops.

There are different kinds of subsidies. Some of them do help with the cost of farming. Ironically, I the first link I followed was about this. It was the government paying "farmers" subsidies for owning farmland that current contains rental property and has not been farmed in years.

ashok said...

Thanks for the link and all the information John. I guessed it might have something to do with farm prices falling too low for certain produce i.e to prevent a glut of certain foods in the market.

I will respond again later after going through the information in the link given by you.

ashok said...

John that link answered the question briefly and nicely I copied it to rquote here

Question: Why does the government pay farmers not to grow crops?

Robert Frank: Paying farmers not to grow crops was a substitute for agricultural price support programs designed to ensure that farmers could always sell their crops for enough to support themselves. The price support program meant that farmers had to incur the expense of plowing their fields, fertilizing, irrigating, spraying, and harvesting them, and then selling their crops to the government, which stored them in silos until they either rotted or were consumed by rodents. It was much cheaper just to pay farmers not to grow the crops in the first place.

Of course, paying people not to do work is bound to be politically awkward (think of the old New Yorker cartoon of an accordion player on a subway platform with a sign next to his cup that read, "Will not play Lady of Spain, 25 cents"). So the government described the program as an environmental one rather than an income maintenance scheme. As described to the public, it was compensation to farmers for retiring acreage to reduce fertilizer and pesticide runoff into the nation's water supply. "

Perhaps, a review is required of both policies. A new policy is needed that says - no price support and no payments not to produce.

Instead the money spent on all this by the goverment may be better spent on 1. Assistance to industries that process and export agricultural produce 2. Online data collection and information centers that constantly monitor situation and provide real time information to farmers to avoid agricultural production of items that may cause them a loss and others that are likely to be profitable.

ashok said...

The second suggestion of my last comment would not have been possible with ease and efficiency 15 or twenty years ago without the internet because such information has to be processed and made availbale within days. It is possible now with the internet.

My Novella " Mystic and the blossoms " ( can be found by googling) has mentioned such a system even though it was written a long time ago but it was ahead of its times.