Believe it or not: farmers farm for a profit, and that isn’t a bad thing!
Here’s the thing: farmers are just like everyone else in society. We need to pay our mortgage, our utilities, our phone bill, and our insurance. We go grocery shopping, to the doctor, and to the hair salon. We even like to get off the farm farm and have fun sometimes.
Let’s not forget that 97% of U.S. farms are owned and operated by families. As any parent knows, kids are expensive. Aside from supplying our children with all the basic necessities of life, we also want them to have experiences, a good education, and hobbies. All of these things take money.
Just like other people go to work to earn a living so they can afford things for themselves and their families, so do farmers.
Farming is also a business.
Yes, agriculture is somewhat of a culture and lifestyle, but it is primarily a business. Businesses require investments. For a farmer, that comes in the form of equipment, seeds, pesticides, fertilizer, buildings, and land. All of that takes money. A farm, just like any other business needs to be profitable to survive.
But I keep hearing people use the fact that farmers work for a living, and that our farms are profitable, as a bad thing.
I understand the cynicism here. People expect that farmers will cut corners, over do it on pesticides and fertilizers, and wreck havoc on the environment if it means larger profits. Perhaps we have a bit of this attitude because of our experiences and the current society. Everyone seems to be out to make a quick buck, things aren’t made to last, and we’ve all been screwed over.
However, this is hardly the attitude I see coming out of modern agriculture.
We know that the environment is precious and that we have to preserve it for the long-term, including if we want to keep farming for any length of time. To accomplish this we implement new technology and follow regulations and guidelines. Our proud national heritage of family farms requires us to preserve our fields for the next generation.
We feed our own families the same food we produce for your families, so we’re concerned with nutritional value and quality. We also know that food has to be affordable. We work hard to make sure our plants are being given all the support needed so we can grow the best food possible. Over time, we have also become more efficient, despite rising input costs, so that we can keep the price of food reasonable.
There are still plenty of people that work hard and give their best every day, including farmers. It might go against the grain, but modern agriculture grows food that farmers can feel proud about feeding to our own families, as well as selling to your families. We have a strong work ethic in the country, and our crops reflect that reality. Trust me, if we were out to “get rich quick,” there are probably a lot easier ways to do it (if you know how, shoot me an email…)!
So, yes, we’re getting paid for the work we do on the farm. That should not fool you into thinking that we don’t care about the end product or would cut corners just for short-term gain. If you’re still not sure, talk to some farmers. I think you will immediately find the passion that keeps us working the fields year after year. People don’t have that kind of passion and then create an inferior product.
Farmers farm for profit. That’s totally okay.