Issue 102 | 👨‍🌾 Bill Gates, the baron of farmland.

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Monday. In case you haven’t heard, our good friend and the baron ofsoil-destroying industrial farmland, William Henry Gates III is getting adivorce. There are some scandalous accusations alleging that the split hasbeen a long time coming, following years of questionable behavior, an affair,and even a relationship with a Mr. Jeffrey Epstein (never heard ofhim). Ok,so how is all that relevant to the Daily Tonic? Aside from a little scandal toadd some spice to the newsletter on a Monday, Bill and Melinda Gates’ownership of farmland is part of a growing and troubling trend in ouragricultural system. Let’s dive in.

Diversifying Your Portfolio

So now we are talking about personal finance? I thought this was a sciencebacked health newsletter? Bear with me here–it’ll all make sense, I promise!We touched on this in a previous Daily Tonic, but to quickly recap–Bill Gatesowns a ton of farmland. The guy is worth $127 billion and along with his soon-to-be ex wife, owns 242,000 acres of farmland. That makes the Gates’ familythe largest private clap So where do the diverse portfolios fit into the story? Well, Billand Melinda aren’t the only uber rich people buying up farmland. In March, ourbuddy Bill appeared in a Reddit “Ask MeAnything”to promote his recently published book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.Asked by a participant why he had bought so much farmland, Gatesresponded:“My investment group chose to do this. It is not connected to climate.” Sobasically, wealthy investors buy farmland for the money-making possibilitiesof an appreciating asset. They don’t care about owning farmland–they just wanta diverse portfolio. You see, farmland has taken off in the past decade as anasset class. Financial advisors urge wealthy investors to add farmland totheir portfolios as an appreciating asset that will do well due to scarcity.Simply put–no one is making any more farmland, so it is safe to assume thatthe value of that land will only go up. As a matter of fact, as growingpopulations increase the demand for land intensive food, and irresponsiblefarming practices keep decreasing the supply of arable land, it makes a lot ofsense that farmland will go up in value. Solid investment, right? But hereinlies the many problems with this growing trend. Absentee landlords don’t careabout how their farmland is used. Cue pesticide and fertilizer use,monoculture crops, heavy tillage of the soil, GMO crops, etc. All of thesepractices are terrible for our health and the health of our planet and aswealthy investors that are disconnected from the actual farming practicepurchase more and more farmland, there will be less motivation for theseconventional practices to change. Compounding the problem is the fact that allthis investor money is making it more difficult and expensive for aspiring,young farmers to buy land. There are smart, young, passionate people trying toget into agriculture to grow food using more responsible regenerative methods,but increasing land prices are making that difficult. The solution? Let’s getthis Daily Tonic into the hands of Melinda Gates. She seems far morereasonable than Bill–hence the divorce. Maybe we can convince her to take halfof the farmland she gets from the split and sell it to young, aspiring farmerslooking to improve how we grow and raise food. Who knows?!

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Hackers Got Their Payday!

So here’s a quick follow up on the developing story of the cyberattack thatput a pause on operations for the biggest meat processor in the U.S. If youneed a refresher, we covered the original story on the Daily Tonic a fewissues ago.Well, it turns out the hackers got paid a cool $11 Million as part of theransomware attack. Yikes. The meat supplier’s U.S. chief said that JBS paidcybercriminals in bitcoin to avoid more disruptions. So… once again–I am farfrom an expert here, but if I were a bitcoin loving hacker, and I saw myhacker friends get paid $11 Million for crippling a company whose operationsare essential to the centralized food supply chain in the U.S, what would Ido? I would immediately grab my laptop, invite all my hacker friends over,boot up the matrix or whatever hackers do, and get to work on another attack…Anyway, my unsolicited, non-expert two cents–this may not be the last attackon our food supply chain. What better time to find your local, decentralizedfarm or ranch to get your food from?

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Issue 99 | Juicy scandal in the regenerative meat world.

Issue 98 | 🤯 Unconfusing food labels.