Prices since 2008 have increased up to 700% and then fluctuated constantly w/ the price of petro-chemicals. The land purchases are to export the products grown to China to feed their nations peoples.
The reasons for this loss of soil is multifaceted; drought, wind, flooding, altered temperatures; all mostly caused by “Climate Disruption,” i.e. untimely weather events of varying magnitudes. Totally throwing the calendar into chaos.
Hot temperatures hold more water so bodies of water and soils loose embodied moisture. Crops struggle, animals die, dry soil and animal fertilizer blows away. 1 degree increase in fahrenheit causes 7% more evaporation from ground water. The other major reason SOIL becomes DIRT is synthetic chemicals and plowing/tilling or non-sustainable farming practices.
Imagine for a minute a farmer drives to the local feed store and picks up a 10# package of nitrogen fixing bacteria/Canna that can fertilize 150 acres by making bio-available nitrogen from air, while sequestering “Carbon” from the air and putting it back in the soil where it belongs. Farmers in the past centuries have rotated crops to replenish the nitrogen used in growing other crops; legumes e.g. soy, peanuts, beans. Until the huge and powerful and well financed “petrochemical industry” gave them a new paradigm to adhere to.