Want to Make More Than a Banker? Become a Farmer

I found this story today on a CNN.com link quite amusing. If you have read much of my blog, you understand why. The story is entitled, “Want to make more than a banker? Become a farmer.” The writer is completely clueless and can’t do math.


Let’s do the math, shall we? Let’s also cut away the fluff about the booming business agricultural suppliers and equipment dealers are experiencing, because as everyone knows their profits lie, not just in the United States, but in foreign countries. In other words, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

Skip the whole first page of the story where we are told how prices are rising and so is need. We all know that, but how will that affect the AVERAGE farmer, not the ‘big dogs’ mentioned in the article. The story tells us that Ken W. knows what it is like to almost lose the farm. That back in 1985, he and his brothers had to do odd jobs to prevent the family farm from being foreclosed and could only save 160 acres of the 500 acres his father had. Hold it right there. What they don’t tell us is whether that 160 acres was saved and free and clear of a mortgage, although that is hinted at when he says the only way “not to lose your farm to the bank is to pay for it in cash.” Ah-ha! Here, unless you have money to begin with or inherit your land that 160 acres (65 hectares) will run you about $480,000…a spritely sum for a “broke” farmer to come up with. The brothers then invested in more acreage and now farm more than 10,000 acres. WHOA! Where did they get their cash infusion? They say they didn’t have much equity, so they couldn’t do a lot of borrowing. Uh-huh. Did they also inherit their father’s expensive equipment? How did they pay for seed? How did they afford farm workers? WHERE DID THE MONEY COME FROM? Frugality stretches only just so far!

Ah, here’s a nice little tidbit…the three brothers own about sixty percent…yep, just what I thought. They did have a cash infusion of some sort–perhaps a corporate farm or seed company? The land itself is now worth $24 million dollars and profits could be as high as $6 million. Sure, you could make a lot of money farming, but as my old dad used to say, “You gotta have money to make money.”

So let’s move on to John W. He got 2,000 acres of land when his father-in-law retired. Guess it pays to marry well, huh? Math time again, based on prices here…2,000 X 3,000=$6,000,000. Nice start for a poor impoverished farmer. Bet the equipment came with it, too. Then the writer gives us this little caveat, “Most of the money he makes, though, goes BACK INTO HIS FARM to pay down debt or buy new equipment.” (my emphasis) Oh, really? You mean this banker-wealthy farmer is in debt to his eyeballs?!  But hey, if bankers can get a bail out and pay bonuses to their upper eschelon, that directly equates with the $60,000 he invested in a new grain bin, right? Again, come on!

So the “prosperity” of farmers is changing the debate in Washington, huh? New debates next year over subsidies too. Surprise, surprise…the media is passing misinformation to the public to support their own political agendas.

No wonder there was no comment section on the article!




About cattlebaroness

I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a BA in History, nearing completion of a Master of Arts in American history. Born and raised first on military bases around the world, then in Orange County, CA, I moved to Kentucky when my children were small. I now live on a small family farm and am learning about farm life, planting and our newest addition to the landscape--cattle. Until a month or two ago, all I knew about 'cows' were that they came in brown, black and white and that some are raised for milk and others for meat. I am a quick study out of necessity.
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