Agriculture / Organic Farming, EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
Jim Rogers: Choose Farming for Your Family and Finances
By Anthony Wile - December 14, 2014

Introduction: Jim Rogers was a co-founder of the Quantum Fund, and is creator of the Rogers International Commodities Index (RICI). A native of Demopolis, Alabama, Jim Rogers was entrepreneurial from a young age. His first business venture at age five involved selling peanuts. He attended Yale University where he received a degree in history and then Oxford University where he focused on philosophy, politics and economics. In 1970, Jim Rogers co-founded the Quantum Fund, possibly the most famous and successful fund of its type. Despite his success, he still makes media and television appearances, focused on the free-market principles he believes in and investments in all vehicles, long and short worldwide, that he espouses. He has issued many warnings about the West's debt-making profligacy and has concluded that China will likely constitute tomorrow's most powerful nation-state, in large part because of the energy and discipline of its billion-plus citizens. He is author of many well-received books including the best-selling Investment Biker, a free-market oriented meditation on life and investing and Street Smarts: Adventures On the Road and In the Markets. All his books are available at JimRogers.com.

Anthony Wile: Hello, Jim Rogers. Thanks for talking with us today. You have a commodities index now, the Rogers International Commodities Index (RICI). How's that doing?

Jim Rogers: It's a good reflection of what's happening in the commodities world. Commodities are not doing well these days and it's reflecting that. As far as I know, it's the best reflection of any commodity index because the others were not any good so I had to start my own. I wouldn't invest in the others as a reflection of the commodities world or as a reflection of the cost of doing business around the world, the cost of being alive around the world.

Anthony Wile: And what is happening with commodities?

Jim Rogers: Oil, which is the largest and most important commodity for everybody, is down. The Saudis are dumping oil because America told them to. America's having negotiations with Iran and a situation with Russia so they're trying to put pressure on both of them. The Saudis are very happy to go along with it and cooperate because the Saudis are trying to do something about the frackers in the United States. If they can put some of them out of business or even cause problems in that industry it will certainly slow the fracking in the US. It is a fairly high-cost way to get oil and gas, and that will slow the huge new supplies of oil coming on-stream. So the Saudis have an economic reason to do it and a political reason given the US is sort of their masters who tell them what to do and how to live life. From the Saudis' point of view it's understandable that they would do it and they are doing it. I don't know how long it's going to go on. And by the way, I certainly did not anticipate that this would happen because it's not based on economics, it's based on politics, and I didn't see it coming. That's what's going on with oil.

Other commodities, such as agriculture, have been depressed for many years, continue to be depressed and will probably be depressed until maybe a few days or weeks later this year because we had a big crop in the US last year. But I'm still extremely optimistic about agriculture, more so than many sectors of the world economy.

As far as gold and silver, I own gold and silver. I haven't bought gold and silver for some time. There will be another opportunity to buy gold and silver some time in the next couple of years. I hope I'm smart enough to act if and when it happens. At the moment, base metals are a better buy than precious metals, in my view.

Anthony Wile: Speaking of agriculture, you've been talking that up for some time now. Any specific areas that are good investments, in your view?

Jim Rogers: Usually what's best is to just find the things that are down the most and invest there. Sugar's down a lot from it's all-time highs so sugar might be a place to look. Just find the ones that are down.

Anthony Wile: And what about agricultural land?

Jim Rogers: Yes. If you want to invest in agriculture, the best thing you should do is become a farmer. Buy yourself some land and become a farmer if you'd be any good at it – or even if you'd just be mediocre at it – because there's going to be some fortunes made in agriculture and when an industry breaks full faith even mediocre people make a lot of money because everything is going right. So if you really want to make a lot of money, that's the best way to do it. Alternatively, you can buy land and lease it out if you can find a good farmer.

There are other ways to make money in agriculture, of course. You can open a chain of restaurants in the agricultural areas of the world because the farmers are going to be much more successful in the next 30 years than in the last 30 years. Or open shops. Get the Lamborghini dealership in the Midwest. There's more than one way to make money in agriculture.

Anthony Wile: Any particular regions you suggest people consider when it comes to agricultural land investment?

Jim Rogers: Anywhere it's raining! Anywhere that has good weather, good soil, good laws, and there are many of those around – the African continent, South America, the middle part of Asia. There are many places where there are astonishing opportunities. I'm not sure I would rush out and buy Iowa right now because it's extremely expensive. But there are lots of places where the opportunities are good.

Anthony Wile: What's your take on the organic food and farming sector?

Jim Rogers: Organic food has a big following, more and more. My wife is one of them. We eat a lot of organic food at our house, and it seems to be spreading rather than declining. I have no idea if organic food is better for you or not, but it doesn't matter whether I know. A lot of people are keen so it's got an ever-growing fan base.

Anthony Wile: What about investing in water?

Jim Rogers: Well, sure. If you can find a way to invest in water you're going to make a fortune. No question that water's going to have incredible opportunities. Don't own water because if you own it they'll take it away from you. But if you can find an opportunity to invest in water, it will be very lucrative.

Water has a magnificent future. There have been wars about oil; there will be more wars about water in next 20 years with wars east of the Red Sea over oil; wars east and south of the Red Sea over water. There are many huge water problems – India, parts of China, parts of the US. There are huge water problems developing. It's going to get worse and if you can figure out the best way, you can make a fortune. But as I said, don't own water because if you own water the politicians are going to ridicule you and hang you in the public square. If you can solve water problems, they'll put up a monument to you in the public square but if you own it, they'll take it away from you and accuse you of exploiting man's God-given right to water.

Anthony Wile: Some are saying the price of gold has collapsed. You believe this is a temporary low?

Jim Rogers: It depends on how you define collapse. It's down by a third or so more in three years. That's not my definition of collapse. Gold has not had a correction in many, many years. That's an anomaly. The fact that it's had a correction now is just the way markets work. So I don't think gold has collapsed yet. It might and if it does I hope I'm smart enough to buy it then.

Anthony Wile: There's also been much talk again about manipulation in gold because of recent events in that market. Many are saying it's been massively manipulated. Your take?

Jim Rogers: I have heard the stories about manipulation for many years – all my life, in fact, or at least for over 30 years. I don't buy it. All commodities are like anything else. They're based on supply and demand and from what I can gather there are reasons for gold to go down and it's not manipulation.

Anthony Wile: What's your expectation of what will happen with gold and silver next year?

Jim Rogers: As I said, I expect an opportunity to buy gold again within the next couple years, at which time I expect to do so. Gold has not had a 50% correction in many years, and that's unusual for most assets. Most things have a 50% correction every three or four years and always have. Gold has not. So if – if – gold has a 50% correction it would go under US$1,000/oz. If that happens. I hope I'm smart enough to buy a lot more gold.

Anthony Wile: What concerns you most these days, generally speaking?

Jim Rogers: My main concerns these days are the US Federal Reserve and the world central banks, but especially the US central bank since it's been the one setting the pace. Never before in world history have we had so many countries printing so much money at all once – Japan, Europe, Great Britain, the US – and so there's a giant artificial sea of liquidity out there coupled with so much extra debt in the world, and when it ends, it's going to be a disaster.

When it ends, it's going to be a big mess for all of us. And unfortunately, the people at the Federal Reserve have no clue. They periodically admit, or let slip, that it's an experiment for them, too. They're trying this out. They're learning as they go. Well, unfortunately, we're all going to learn the hard way because these academics with their experiment are going to cost us dearly. It's a shame that we've given such power to people who don't know what they're doing, but I guess that's the story of governments throughout history.

Anthony Wile: When might that be?

Jim Rogers: It's not going to end this year. I would say it might by the end of next year or 2016 but, of course, I don't know. It may go another year or two, for all I know, because either the central banks are going to come to their senses, which is unlikely, or eventually, the market's just going to say "we're not going to take this garbage anymore" and the market is going to end in the whole process for us. That will be a mess, it will be ugly, it will be painful but that's the only two options left. They can't just keep printing for eternity or the world will run out of trees, eventually.

Anthony Wile: You've been high on China for a long time, of course. How's the Chinese economy doing?

Jim Rogers: The Chinese economy is slowing because, fortunately, their government's been trying to slow it. They should have done more, if you ask me, but fortunately, things are slowing down. The Chinese stock market has been the best performing of all stock markets, to my delight. I didn't know it would be that strong. I started buying shares in November of 2013 again after the economic plenum in Beijing. They said it was one of the three most important economic events in the last 35 years in China, the first two being when Dung Chou Ping said in 1978 we have to open up, we've got to try something new, and the second being in 1993 when they said we have to engage more with the outside world, the IMF, World Bank, etc. The third was this one in November 2013. They listed the sectors of the Chinese economy where they were going to emphasize their efforts and their money. So I got that list – it's a public list, it's no secret – and started buying Chinese shares again for first time since the fall of 2008 and continue to do so.

Anthony Wile: You were hot on Korea last time we talked. How do you see it now?

Jim Rogers: The changes in North Korea continue to accelerate since we spoke last time. As you may know, two of the top three guys went down to South Korea during the Asian Games in a surprise visit and started talking about peace and unification. So it's all happening at a very rapid rate. They've just opened 14 free trade zones, trying to attract outside capital expertise and investment although I have not yet been to those free trade zones.

Anthony Wile: What about North Korea from an investment perspective?

Jim Rogers: One has to go there and do direct investing, of course. There is no stock market. There are no financial markets, no bond markets, nothing like that. It's only for direct investment. It turns out that it's legal for Americans to do that in certain areas – pharmaceuticals, food, things like that. You cannot invest in uranium or weapons, of course, but there are things you can invest in. You just have to go there and invest directly.

It's like China in 1980. Dung Chou Ping said in '78 we've got to change, and they started doing it. These guys have started changing. They're a year or two into it and it's accelerating. They've had international marathons there. You can take bicycle tours. You can do a lot of things in North Korea now that were inconceivable three years ago.

If the kid's father were alive he'd probably shoot him. If his grandfather were alive I know he'd torture him and then shoot him. But he and his generals know that the world has changed and they need to change with it.

There's no question there's dramatic changes taking place that are happening right now. When I was there I wanted to go to the northern part of North Korea. I wanted to see a place called Rason, because it is the northernmost ice-free port in Asia. The Russians have just renovated and brought the Trans-Siberian Railway into Rason because if you put goods on the train in Rason they get to Berlin or Paris a couple of weeks faster than on the boat. The Russians have built two new docks and the Chinese have built two new docks there. This is all happening right now, as we speak. This is not some day or five years ago. This is happening now. I wanted to go and see.

I read the America propaganda about poor, starving North Koreans, like you. Well, like most propaganda, which leaves something to be desired, I went to an open market and found hundreds of stalls, thousands of customers, with everything that I could conceive of buying. They even had some electronics that were so advanced, for me, that I didn't know what they were, though I'm pretty hopeless. But they had all kinds of stuff – food, products, alcohol, just about anything you wanted to buy, and people were buying and selling in a big way.

There were hundreds of people crossing the border from China and Russia. When people would see me on the streets they would say hello to me in Russian, as about the only Caucasians up there are Russians. So it's all happening, and happening in a fairly fast and dramatic way. You wouldn't know that reading America propaganda but America nearly always gets it late, if we get it. Myanmar we got very late, China we got incredibly late, etc.

Anthony Wile: What sources would you recommend for news that's free of American propaganda or at least more accurate sources?

Jim Rogers: Well, I don't know. I try to read news from all over world – China, BBC, Russia, US. Then you have to sort of put it together. There are a couple of websites, one in the US devoted to North Korean news. I don't know if they're accurate or not but I read it to get views. I've been told that often they're wrong but that's true of everybody. That's true of the New York Times. That's true of a lot of places.

Anthony Wile: Talk about Asia more generally. How are countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand doing? Would you recommend investing in any of these?

Jim Rogers: There are opportunities in all three. Thailand's been having a lot of civil unrest in the last year or so and, of course, oppressive things are happening there. When that sort of thing happens there's opportunity. So yes, all of those markets do present opportunity now.

Whenever there's a coup or civil strife it's an opportunity as well as a disaster, depending on how you play it. I'm sure there are great opportunities in Thailand right now. I don't know them. I bought shares in an airline before the unrest so I'm losing money but it may well turn out to be a great opportunity for people whose timing is better than mine.

Anthony Wile: Let's talk briefly about Europe, which is still struggling. Give us an overview of what's happening there.

Jim Rogers: Europe's a big place, with lots of countries, and I'm not too interested right now. Stock markets keep going higher. There is more money printing coming so you'll probably do well in the investing markets there but just be sure you know what's going on. Be sure you know why stocks are going up, because of artificial money printing. I did buy a defense stock there recently and an airline there recently but I hope these are special situations.

The currency's down a lot. I'm not buying the currency. I mainly own the US dollar and renminbi these days. You see what's happened to Japanese markets, the way the stock market's gone up a lot for a variety of reasons. That may happen in Europe, too, although I'm not playing Europe.

Anthony Wile: Will a European QE help matters?

Jim Rogers: It will help the markets, just like it has in the US. But as I say, invest there as long as you understand what's going on and understand the reality that when it ends, it's going to end badly because of artificial money printing. If you look out the window you'll see a huge artificial sea of liquidity. At this stage of the world's economy you'd be better off being a 26-year-old with no experience and little wisdom.

Anthony Wile: Why do you say that?

Jim Rogers: They think this is real. They think this is normal. They think they're smart. They buy a stock and it goes up. Most people, unfortunately, who go into markets think the market started the day they showed up or the day they got out of university or something, and so they don't know. They have no sense of history, no sense of reality, no sense of how things work. They came in the market, nearly everything they touched goes up and as things get hotter and hotter, they go up more and more. So these kids think this is the way the world works and they think they're geniuses because everything they touch is great.

So somebody like me who has experience and maybe some wisdom and maybe some historical knowledge knows that these things always end badly. These kids have no idea of that so they just pile in with both feet, huge leverage do everything they can. The wilder the story the more they buy, thinking that this is normal. It's not normal. It's happened millions of times throughout history. But that's why it's better to be 26 at this stage of the market than older with experience.

Anthony Wile: Let's turn to Russia and Ukraine. What's your take on that region?

Jim Rogers: I first went to Russia and Ukraine in 1966 and came away pessimistic, bearish, and was pessimistic for the next 46 years. Russia, I'm optimistic about now because of the changes happening there. I bought more shares there recently. Ukraine I've been bearish about for 48 years and I continue to be bearish on Ukraine. It has been and is a horribly managed country, for whatever reason. It's no wonder that Crimea wanted to join Russia. Whatever problems Russia has pale in comparison to the problems in Ukraine.

Russia has huge resources, both financial and natural. It's got convertible currency. It's very depressed. It's hated by everybody. I recently became a director of a large Russian phosphorous and fertilizer company. I bought a few shares. I bought some shares of the index. I bought some shares in Russia. I haven't bought a whole lot yet but I continue to look for and anticipate buying more.

The currency is a disaster and so I don't know where it will bottom. Usually when things start spiraling downward they go down too far. I hope the Russians have decided they're going to let the market decide, which in my view is exactly the right thing to do. I hope they don't panic and change and try to put on controls or something.

One reason I own mainly US dollars now is because there is and there's going to be more currency turmoil worldwide. When that happens many people will flee to the US dollar as a safe haven. It's not a safe haven. It's a horrible, terribly flawed currency and it's going to have many problems down the road. In the meantime, I own it because I know everybody's going to flee to the dollar. Eventually, of course, it may turn into a bubble, at which point I hope I'm smart enough to sell. What I do with my money at that point, I don't know.

But there's a lot of currency turmoil and that's one reason that in the next year or two all of this crazy artificial ocean of liquidity has to dry up, because we have huge moves – the Japanese currency's down 50% in two or the years, the ruble the same thing, the euro not 50% but a lot. These are staggering moves. We're not talking about some obscure currency somewhere, we're talking about the yen, we're talking about the euro, we're talking about the ruble, the Brazilian real – lots of currencies. There's going to be somebody on the wrong side of these trades. I don't know who but we're going to see sometime before too much longer some big losses coming from somewhere.

Anthony Wile: These changes you see coming about in Russia are because …

Jim Rogers: The changes in Russia have come about because they realize they cannot just shoot people, steal from people, throw people in jail for no reason. They've realized they have to play by international rules, whether it's because Mr. Putin is worried about his historical image or for whatever reason. I don't know what it is but something has happened.

Putin has set out to make the Moscow Stock Exchange a major financial center. I don't know whether it will do it or not. To me, it's kind of a crazy thought, trying to build that right in the home of Lenin, the home of Stalin. But that's what he's setting out to do.

Anthony Wile: How about the Islamic state? What effect is that situation having generally and on markets, if any?

Jim Rogers: That's another one of those cases where, unfortunately, the US State Department has shot itself in the foot. We started all that and now it's backfiring on us. I don't know. But no, at this point it's a lot of press and it may turn out to be much more. It may take over the Middle East. As I said, the Saudis are dumping oil because America asked them to put pressure on Iran and Russia and the Saudis are happy to oblige and drive the price of oil down so maybe it will bankrupt and shock and scare some of the fracking boom in the US. So the Saudis are quite happy to cooperate with the State Department and drive down the price of oil. It's temporary, it's artificial but this creates a wonderful opportunity to buy oil.

Anthony Wile: Are we going to have a repeat war in Iraq with Western involvement? When do these wars stop?

Jim Rogers: Unfortunately, there's apparently a whole group of people in Washington that loves war, including Obama, and until they no longer have the power or the sway or influence, it's going to continue to go on. We keep making mistake after mistake after mistake. So do other people, by the way. It's not just the US making these mistakes. Unfortunately, that just gets worse.

You asked about the Islamic state. The people that we set up are now turned into ISIS and are not helping us at all. They're using our guns against Syria but also against Iraq and against Iran so we may end up being allies with Iran because we got these guys started and they have turned into a nightmare – another mistake. So as I say, everything we do in the Middle East seems to turn out wrong.

Anthony Wile: Speaking of warmongers in Washington, what do you make of the recent US elections?

Jim Rogers: I don't know that they're going to change very much. I don't see anybody there who wants to cut taxes and dismantle the government. We've been here before and even if we do have a new mob who wants to cut taxes and dismantle the government, Obama's very keen on government and very keen on taxes. Lots of politicians say they want to cut taxes and dismantle the government but I don't see it happening. I've been hearing that all my life and yet the government gets bigger and bigger, the tax burden worse and worse and the regulations get worse. They all say it; none of them do it. They contribute to problem rather than solution.

Anthony Wile: To what extent is FATCA playing a role now in impacting Americans' abilities to do business anywhere in the world, from your experience?

Jim Rogers: FATCA's making it more and more difficult for Americans to do business around world – to do anything around world. When you have more and more capital controls, it obviously eventually causes problems. History's full of examples of that. I told you we're going to have more problems in currency markets in the next couple of years. That's partly because of FATCA. Fewer and fewer Americans can easily move their money around. When you restrict capital flows, you also make it hard to do business. FATCA's going to be part of the problem and make things worse.

There are some places where I've had bank accounts a long time. They just called me up and said we love you but we've got to close you out because you're an American. They're places I've had accounts a long time, and I've always reported everything. It doesn't matter, though. They just don't want Americans anymore. Others won't open accounts, as you know, so it's certainly reducing the flow of capital around the world and it's putting Americans at greater and greater disadvantage.

Anthony Wile: How much is this is already contributing to the demise of the dollar?

Jim Rogers: Unfortunately, this situation is threatening the rest of the world to come up with alternatives, which in the end are going to be bad for America and Americans. I don't like saying this, but people are already trying to find ways to compete with the US dollar and the US banking system. This is only accelerating the process. If we stop being the world's reserve currency we're going to be in a serious, serious bind. This is just going to accelerate all that.

Anthony Wile: What's your take on Obama's recent executive order on immigration?

Jim Rogers: As far as I'm concerned, I would do away with passports and visas entirely. I'm a bit of a free-marketeer in this regard. What is the inscription on the Statue of Liberty? "Bring me your unwashed … " Unfortunately, the great unwashed probably couldn't get in right now, your forebears and mine. Those were people with ambition, energy, capital, new ideas and after they left their home countries and settled in the US, we became the most successful country in the world. So I would go back to those days of no passports or visas.

Dung Chou Ping said when he opened up China, 'Well, sure, when you open the window you will get some flies' but on the whole, sunshine and fresh air, fresh ideas, ambition, drive, energy, capitol is a lot better than the staggering amounts of time and energy that's wasted the way things are.

Anthony Wile: At the Daily Bell we write about asset protection and international second-home options as strategies people may want to consider, especially right now. In fact, High Alert has recently announced a new community being developed in Colombia. Do you encourage people to leave the US, as you've done personally?

Jim Rogers: Leaving any place is a major decision. Even if you move from, say, Illinois to Ohio or Los Angeles to St. Louis, that's a big jump. It's a very deeply personal decision. I did it mainly so that my children would be educated in Asia and speak Chinese. I see great opportunities elsewhere. My forebears a few hundred years ago saw great opportunities and left their homeland to pursue those opportunities and, as I said, many people are doing that now, and not just those in the US. You've got to be brave, adventuresome and either very dumb or very smart to leave your own country. I can't make that kind of decision. It's often a very wise thing to do but everybody has to decide it themselves.

Of course, it can be the wrong thing to do. On one of my trips around the world I met a family in Siberia who were Russians. When the Revolution came, when chaos came, they packed up and moved to China, in the '20s or '30s. Then, of course, China became a disaster so they moved to Argentina. I said to them, "I want to know where you're going next because you guys have always gotten it wrong in your family!" Well, they moved back to Siberia. They may have gotten it right. They didn't have it right for a while but if they're still there, they may have it right now. Just because you move to another country, there's no guarantee. You've got to make sure you get it right.

Anthony Wile: What about securing a second passport? Is that a wise move, in your opinion?

Jim Rogers: Again, those are decisions that only people can make for themselves but I will say this. We all have life insurance policies; we all have fire insurance. We hope we never use it. I hope my fire insurance policy I never use. I hope I lose money from my fire insurance policy. Maybe people can consider investing abroad or having a second passport along those same lines. So a second passport is perfectly legal and moral but I have to let everybody decide that.

Again, nearly everybody reading this, their forebears left their homeland one time or another. There are millions and millions of people leaving their homeland. It's a huge move but it's not uncommon. It's not at all uncommon and you usually find it's the ambitious, knowledgeable people who even consider it. Not that there are not ambitious, knowledgeable people who do not do it but history would show that you have to be very brave to make a move like this.

Again, 150 years ago there essentially were no passports, no visas, none of this stuff. People just showed up. People showed up at Ellis Island – they had to register in those days, but you could go anywhere and do anything. Then governments, the British especially, decided we needed to control people more so this whole thing of passports and visas developed.

I don't know if you travel much but the millions of hours and dollars that are wasted crossing borders is astronomical. Try to land at JFK. Try to land anywhere. And if you've got to get visas that's more expense and time. All of this is insane, the amount of money and time that is spent just entering or crossing a border. And for a few thousand years this sort of thing didn't exist. You just went if you wanted to. The world was better for it. The world would be again if and when it disappears again. The money that would be saved and the hours that would be saved would do us all better.

But as far as more than one passport, it's legal – for Americans, anyway – and if they want to do it, it's a personal decision only the individual can make. I will say, one reason that Americans can have second passports is because many people in America – the Jews, the Poles, etc. – throughout their history have known the value and insurance policy of a second passport and that's one reason that in America it's one of the freedoms we still have. We're losing more and more of our freedoms but at least we still have that one.

Anthony Wile: We're also optimistic about cannabis as an investment and an industry. How about you?

Jim Rogers: From everything I read, it looks like the world is going to legalize cannabis in the next decade or two and if that's the case, there are staggering opportunities. When you go from a world in which it was very difficult if not impossible to get to one in which it's legal, that's enormous. It will certainly be much cheaper if it's legal, so sure. I haven't found the way to invest yet but I see the same thing you do. More and more jurisdictions are legalizing marijuana. It seems that it's not terribly dangerous, certainly less dangerous than nicotine or alcohol.

I don't have any cannabis investments because of sloth or ineptitude or something but I would suspect that the whole world will legalize cannabis just like they did with tobacco and as most did with alcohol. There are going to be huge opportunities; I don't know them yet. I know you guys have done a lot of work on cannabis. I just haven't had a chance to dig into it yet.

Anthony Wile: Once cannabis becomes a global, regulated industry will large corporations gobble up the smaller startups creating a tobacco-type industry, if you will?

Jim Rogers: I think it will become more of an alcohol industry. It doesn't mater. It's going to become a leisure industry of great size. And yes, since it's new, obviously small players can get involved now. It's not easy for you and me to get into the alcohol business because there are a lot of giants in front of us but with cannabis, as I said, it seems like there will be enormous opportunities.

Anthony Wile: In closing, what advice would you give that 26-year-old you mentioned earlier?

Jim Rogers: If you know a 26-year-old who can get out of the market before the financial industry collapses again, first of all, she's very smart. I want to meet her. I'd say to her, you better start reading a lot of history next year to temper your enthusiasm. The same result is coming again. Don't read the stuff this year because it will impede you, slow you down. But starting next summer, start reading a lot of history.

Secondly, she should definitely know another language. Finally, she should definitely, if she likes the outdoors, farming or planting, consider agriculture. We've had many periods in world history when the financial types have been the center of the universe and many periods when the people who produce real goods are the center of the universe. Well, that's coming again. Finance is going to have serious problems but agriculture has got a great future.

Anthony Wile: Thanks for your time!

After Thoughts

When we pointed out recently that the US must be behind the plunge in the price of oil, we thought it was a pretty good theory. Our idea was that the plunge – which was attributed to the Saudis – was actually pushed forward by interests intent on undermining Putin.

We liked the analysis even though we couldn't find it in many other places. In fact, we've made searches on the Internet and found very little of this sort of speculation, at least in the mainstream media.

Iran predictably has accused the US of orchestrating lower prices to pressure Russia … but that's just the crazy Iranians. Or is it? Here is Jim Rogers advancing the same theory!

There are other areas in this interview where we were pleased to see Mr. Rogers agreeing with our perspectives. He speaks, for instance, of acquiring second residences abroad, reminding us that he relocated his family to Asia years ago. High Alert has, of course, recently announced a new community in Colombia for expats and others who seek second homes in countries outside of their home countries.

Rogers explains: "Leaving any place is a major decision … I see great opportunities elsewhere. My forebears a few hundred years ago saw great opportunities and left their homeland to pursue those opportunities and, as I said, many people are doing that now, and not just those in the US."

One can have a second home in a community abroad, and one can also consider farmland as a pragmatic investment option. Rogers comments on this option, as well:

"Yes. If you want to invest in agriculture, the best thing you should do is become a farmer …. So if you really want to make a lot of money, that's the best way to do it. Alternatively, you can buy land and lease it out if you can find a good farmer." We've written about this in the past and agree with his perspective. In fact, High Alert is continuing to look for ways to invest in agriculture and organic opportunites and will notify readers of our choice for your own consideration once we've completed our due diligence.

FInally, Rogers speaks about opportunities in the growing cannabis industry, which we have been writing about on a regular basis. He comments, "From everything I read, it looks like the world is going to legalize cannabis in the next decade or two and if that's the case, there are staggering opportunities."

He explains what our readers should already know … that eventually larger players will take over the growing market and smaller ventures will either seek niche markets or become subsidiaries and elements of larger cannabis entities. Eventually the window will close. The time to act is coming.

In all these areas, as you can see, we're pleased to find Mr. Rogers focusing on elements that we've discussed in the past. And despite our reporting, we always learn more when speaking to him and look forward to interviewing him again.

Posted in Agriculture / Organic Farming, EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
  • Super. Lots of experience combined with a willingness to make mistakes (and admit them!) is what gives wisdom. Lots of wisdom here, great questions DB.

  • Danny B

    Oh Great Bell, since the subject came up again, I want to copy a post I did at the energetic forum;

    During the construction days of the Alaska pipeline, Pastor Lindsey
    Williams volunteered his services to the oil barons at pipeline
    headquarters. They had him sit in on their meetings so he would know
    where things were going. He was the chaplain to the roughnecks working
    on the pipeline. They fed him quite a bit of information and really
    opened his eyes. He wrote and published a book, “The oil non-crisis”.
    If you consider that the original GOV lease at Prudhoe was a 10 Mile by
    10 mile area, you get the idea that GOV didn’t want to discover too much
    oil. The petroleum reserves in the arctic are ENORMOUS.

    Many years ago they drilled “Gull Island” and found a huge bonanza. It
    was capped. Williams reported this and just recently, it was uncapped.

    Pastor Williams regularly carried messages that his elite friends wanted
    aired out. A few years ago, they told him that they were going to drive
    oil down to $ 25 a barrel. Against the advice of his colleagues, he
    reported this. It came to pass. Many firms that had contracts locked in
    had to declare bankruptcy.

    Both GOV and the speculators make more off a barrel of oil that the oil
    companies do. The oil companies are losing a lot of money and are
    probably unhappy about that.

    GOV controls the leases and the taxes. The banks have financialized
    energy,, inflated the price and are making a killing. Only the oil
    companies produce oil. They can manipulate the output. Much of the
    Alaskan oil has sand in it and is abrading the pipeline. The oil majors
    were going to put in a new pipeline and use the existing pipeline to
    transport natural gas. They never did it.

    The oil majors crashed the price already one time. Once again, the
    speculators have driven up the price.

    The big slowdown in China hit about the same time that fracking boomed.
    It boomed big enough to draw in all the hot money. The next problem is
    that all this volatility will keep most investors from coming back.
    An old figure that I had is that; the speculators add $ 26 per barrel. Once again, the price has been
    crashed down. Once again, it is trashing the speculators. This time is
    different. The highly leveraged and (can’t lose) bets are pushed into
    other areas with oil profits as the base of finance. Since $ 100 oil
    was a sure bet, everybody took their sure-to-appear profits and invested
    in everything else.

    “Energy companies sold $50 billion in junk bonds through October, 14% of
    all junk bonds issued! But junk-rated energy companies trying to raise
    new money to service old debt or to fund costly fracking or off-shore
    drilling operations are suddenly hitting resistance.

    And the erstwhile booming leveraged loans, the ugly sisters of junk bonds, are causing the Fed to have conniptions”
    I suspect that the buyers of these junk bonds have very little protection. So, energy companies sold junk bonds to banks.

    If you remember the plot line from Atlas Shrugged, Francisco d’Anconia
    had his own ships sunk to deprive the GOV of copper ore. At one point,
    the elites told Lindsey Williams that they would crash the economy when
    obamacare was fully implemented.

    The big slowdown in China hit about the same time that fracking boomed.
    It boomed big enough to draw in all the hot money. The next problem is
    that all this volatility will keep most investors from coming back.

    The point I want to make is that the oil barrons drove down oil purposely. Last time, they announced it ahead of time. This time, no. The “smoking gun” is gasoline prices. In recent pullbacks in the price of crude, the gasoline price barely dropped. This time, it is CRASHING. There is a station in Dallas selling for under $ 2.00. This can easily be brought about if the oil majors order their distributors to lower the demand price. I can’t see the price of gasoline dropping this much unless the oil companies wanted it to drop.

    • Thanks. So much for “peak oil.”

      • Danny B

        BTW, I said that the oil barons had driven down the price of oil. Who knows if they lost any money?
        http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-12-12/zowie-somebody-made-an-absolute-killing-by-shorting-oil#r=rss

        It helps the bottom line of you are a market-maker. The Economist says that oil will stay at $ 60 for 5 years.
        Since the CBs state that they don’t know what they are doing, only a fool would project ANY price for 5 years in the future. http://dailyreckoning.com/fairytales-federal-reserve-15-reasons-fed-policies-belong-fantasyland/?r=milo

        • Are we to believe ANYTHING the CBs tell us? If they want us to believe their statements, do an audit of the Gold at the NY Fed, and Ft. Knox. Until then I will take anything the CBs say and assume it is deliberately intended to mislead, and I include our wonderful prevaricator Mr. Greenscam.

          • Danny B

            No problem, They can do a complete physical audit in about 20 minutes.

      • There is plenty of Gold in the world as well, much of it (most of it?) under the control of the hidden hand. They create false shortages, suck in the specs, and crush’em. Taken right from the playbook the hand has used countless times for centuries. Misdirection, untruth, inside trading, regulatory capture and manipulation are their toolbox. Now that the hand has all markets under their complete control, if you cannot suss out their hidden agenda you have no business speculating. It is what it is, and no bellyaching here, as a trader you deal with reality as it is or you loose money. Many hedge funds have gone under lately. Great post Danny B.

        • Danny B

          Thank you. I believe that this is more than just about money. The nutcases still want to rule the world

          No matter the risk. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40456.htm

          • Oh yeah, it is about power. Really, this is a common human trait – the majority of human beings, if given a choice between money and power, will choose power every time. It is in our genes and if you think about it, it makes perfect sense: when you have power, you can always get money.

            As our wonderful US politicians and regulators demonstrate all the time.

  • michaelremington

    I love reading Jim Rodgers.

  • Ronald Holland

    I enjoy Jim Roger’s interviews here on the DB as well as when he is on CNBC etc. I have found him always to be a man slightly in front of the crowd and he has certainly come out ahead in the great game of life. Not bad for a Southern boy from Alabama.

  • Guy Christopher

    What an interview! Thanks, DB. You’ve helped change a few opinions I’ve had about Jim Rogers. First off, I took his advice years ago to become a farmer, or at least, a grower of food. I put pear trees, blueberries, blackberries, tomatoes, fig trees, satsuma and tangerine trees, one apple tree and one pomegranate tree on my property, which gets 10 hours of sun daily and a lot of rain. I found I’m no good at vegetable gardening, so I gave that up. All because Jim Rogers has been so adamant over the years about self-sufficiency in investing. I think he’s a very bright guy and I appreciate his wisdom.

    On the other hand, I’ve heard him say before he does not believe gold and silver nominal prices are suppressed by government desiring to protect paper money, and I’ve mostly ignored that. Now, today, we have evidence piled 50 feet high, multiple examples, charges, and admissions that governments and banks manipulate gold and silver values. He just said in your interview that oil is being manipulated politically, but that gold is not, so I have to come away from your interview very confused.

    While saying in your interview for the umpteenth time that the “Fed has no clue,” and that they are making mistakes we will all pay for, he gives them a pass when it comes to the only money governments trust and covet — gold. He ignores the mountains of evidence collected primarily by GATA that governments intervene in the gold market constantly for the stated purpose of suppressing the gold price and have for the past 80 years. He ignores admitted manipulations, — spelled a.d.m.i.t.t.e.d. — that are now on record in the gold market, a.d.m.i.t.t.e.d. by bullion banks and central banks and governments. He does not ignore LIBOR and other interest rates and currency market rigging, and he doesn’t ignore the blatant government manipulation of government figures on inflation, unemployment, GDP, CPI and every other bullschlamagel government metric. And he believes the US stock market is manipulated by Fed Reserve money printing and in your interview he sees it collapsing. He didn’t say declining in value, he didn’t say correcting, he said collapsing. Heck, he even gives us a very credible report that the US media (BigGov) is manipulating news about North Korea starving to death!

    So, to Jim Rogers, gold is the only – spelled o.n.l.y. — market in the world that is not – spelled n.o.t. — politically manipulated. What’s his target buy-price, a buck ninety-five? Wow! I have not lost any respect for Jim Rogers, so it must be just me. I’ve got to go now and spend some time out by the cement pond ciphering on that one, Ellie Mae…….Let’s see, naught times naught is naught…….

    • Oil is manipulated but gold is not. Perhaps it’s contradictory and even confusing, but that is his stance. Correct.

      • nobody is right about everything all the time, as I’m sure Jim Rogers would agree.

      • Guy Christopher

        I get it, that’s his position. I just find it incomprehensible that a man so bright, so successful and so oft-quoted can ignore the mountains of evidence, testimony, available government documents, declassified formerly secret government reports, published central banker interviews and statements, investigative and in depth articles going back decades, anecdotal examples, current history, court case decisions, studied opinions of dozens of other highly successful investors, and common sense. Jim Rogers is a commodity expert who couldn’t trust any commodity trading metric so he developed his own, which he talked about in this interview. Jim Rogers has a powerful voice in the investing world, as you acknowledge. For him to flatly deny the in-your-face evidence, floating along right on the surface of the scum pond, that the globe’s most secretive market is effectively producing a ‘commodity price’ which is in fact an illusion, a mirage, a lie and a naked affront to freedom is just really hard to grasp. If he were to say he doesn’t care about it, or that he invests successfully despite it, or that he has learned to work around it, or that it is something that does not affect his everyday market dealings, or it’s something he can’t do anything about, then I’d get it. But that’s not what he says. He says he’s been hearing that evidence for 30 years or more and he doesn’t believe that evidence. And that’s what I don’t get. It’s not a big deal in the grand scheme, I suppose, that one fellow’s denial of evidence. by extension an endorsement of the falsehood that gold operates in a free market environment, doesn’t change my nine to five, but it is an enormous curiosity,

        • Bruce C

          I agree, but then again I’ve never really liked Jim Roger’s POV anyway.

    • Jinxy

      Gold is exchanges in over 10 independent exchanges worldwide. It is just demand and supply. When i ask people to tell me step by step how they can sustainably manipulate the gold market, none of them can give me an answer. You can try to manipulate it at the risk of losing all your money

      • Guy Christopher

        Jinxy, spend some time exploring http://www.gata.org A couple of hundred experts in finance, mining, investigative journalism and government have spent the past 17 years proving that governments manipulate the gold price in order to protect the reputation of paper money. It’s all there. Mountains of data, courtroom testimony, statistics, interviews and to top it all off, government documents admitting to the manipulation. There are even well-written summations by Chris Powell answering the question you are asking.

        The reason that you and others haven’t heard about this on a regular basis is because the media is complicit in this crime and likes to keep it quiet. The media is complicit because the media wants to be close to and a part of power. And yes, it’s a crime. If individuals manipulated prices the way the government does, they would go to jail. But government has immunized itself from its own laws. It’s all there, Jinxy, so if you want to see the evidence, it’s available. The Chinese government believes it, the Russian government believes it, and yes, the US government of course, knows all about it. So, we can just shove our heads in the sand, or we can do the homework it takes, or in this case just read the research that GATA has amassed, and then the ‘people you ask to explain step by step who cannot explain it’ might also learn it as well. Beyond offering the evidence, straight up, flat out, in your face, on the table, there’s really nothing else anyone can do for folks like Jim Rogers and Doug Casey and members of the reading public who refuse to see what’s in front of them.

        • Jinxy

          I have seen gata stuff before. It is not very convincing. As i have said, manipulations are short lived and guaranteed to make the manipulators lose money. Even if one can manipulate a market for years, it is good for investors because then you have more time to accumulate more gold. But again, no one has given me a sustainable method of manipulating the market yet.

  • Praetor

    He’s got it right, farming. Even in crisis, people have to eat. From, Joel Salatin, (Farmer), Folks, This Ain’t Normal: The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. that is not long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides, it was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyards. “GET IT”, my words. From, Eliot Coleman, (Farmer), The New Organic Grower: Organic farming appealed to me because it involved searching for and discovering nature’s pathways, as opposed to the formulaic approach of chemical farming. The appeal of organic farming is boundless; the mountain has no top, the river has no end. My, words, The problem is, will our government become like China, and Russia, will they come to your farm confiscate (force) your production to feed the city masses, because, the masses (mob) have no idea how to feed themselves or will it be like the “Depression”, the farm market was allowed to function freely to feed those masses. This is a big question ??? How will this government react to the crisis that is coming, concerned farming! During the depression in China and Russia, millions starved to death, in the U.S. people where hungry and some died but not on the massive scale as in China and Russia. You tell me, how will this government react.

    • Don’t think you have to ask, my friend : (

      • Praetor

        The question was rhetorical, as Danny B states, above. They are planning for top down control and because of that failed type of planning, millions will die. Our government is just like China and Russia, we can expect the worst.

    • Danny B

      Praetor, you should be aware that during the Great Depression I years, about 44% of Americans worked on the farm.
      “The researcher, Boris Borisov, in his article titled “The American
      Famine” estimated the victims of the financial crisis in the US at over
      seven million people. The researcher also directly compared the US
      events of 1932-1933 with Holodomor, or Famine, in the USSR during
      1932-1933.”
      http://english.pravda.ru/world/americas/19-05-2008/105255-famine-0/

      Today, about 1 1/2 % work on the farm. Just because you operate a big Deere, doesn’t mean that you can actually grow crops. Then, there is the question of the financing that comes from the futures market to underwrite winter fertilizing and spring planting. It’s hard to imagine a credit collapse without any interruptions in delivery of diesel fuel.

      The laws are already in place to confiscate crops or anything else that GOV deems necessary. GOV also claims control of ALL water. You play ball or you don’t get water. 78 % of the water used in America is used to support meat production. Just as the CIA doesn’t load any oil tankers, the FEDs don’t grow any crops. Imagine if the Feds confiscated crops from Con-Agra and Archer-Daniels-Midland.
      I bought farmland in an area with 55 inches of rainfall, AND on a river. It is difficult to find good farmland with good water that isn’t near a population center. Also, it helps if the land is at low elevation. It is much more difficult to steal the water if they have to pump it. I also managed to find an area where they don’t use any glycol-phosphates.
      If your water is transported, it is open to manipulation.

  • If you wish to know the truth about 2008, and why the current situation is much worse, it is all here:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/12/david-stockman/duck-and-cover%E2%80%A8/

  • James Clander

    Not very practical for most to become farmers and most farmers lead a terrible life getting shafted by the buyers for their produce not to mention the often seasonal wipe outs. So not much in his multi millionaire tips for me.

    What turned me off his article completely was his ridiculous comments re Gold:

    “I have heard the stories about manipulation for many years – all my life, in fact, or at least for over 30 years. I don’t buy it. All commodities are like anything else. They’re based on supply and demand and from what I can gather there are reasons for gold to go down and it’s not manipulation”

    Supply & demand my A$$ ! and “All commodities are like anything else” !!

    Anyone who has been following Gold over the past 14 + years knows his response is pure BS !

    BS is something you need to fertilise farms – enough said.

    • It contained much interesting content from our point of view…

  • Haywood Jablome

    Jim is one of my favorites. Personally, I think it’s a little naive to think you can have open borders and a welfare state…but when you have his kind of money and live in Singapore, I guess you can be idealistic about things. That being said, if I see his name on something, it is a must read.

    • Jinxy

      With the amount of money and manpower saved from abolishing the passport system, you can create a specialised team several times over to track criminals or deal with whatever fear you have with open borders.

  • Olivia Hittner

    excellent time to get into water wise farming. have any of you heard of aquaponics and our current ability to use 95% less water to grow the same vegetables?

    http://www.thefarmingfish.com/commercial-aquaponic-course-year-round-growing/

  • lastoftheromans .

    Can you post the podcast of your interviews so I can listen while I work instead of reading these long articles?

  • Ernest Martinson

    I attempted to get back into farming on old family farm land but was stopped from building an affordable and alternative farmstead by the progressive Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code. So I appreciate Jim Rogers comment about regulations getting worse. My parents had been free to build but I was not.
    Although I had not planned on growing cannabis for marijuana, I had considered growing cannabis for hemp. That too is illegal although the government had encouraged farmers to grow hemp in World War II.

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