Misconceptions About Agriculture: All Farmers are Rich

As a young child, you dream as to what you want to be when you grow up, and at a young age some of these dreams can be quite outlandish. There are the plausible aspirations such as to be a cop or a fireman, or perhaps even a doctor. Of course there are also the crazy ones like wanting to be a dragon or the color blue, I’m guilty too as I wanted to be the blue power ranger (which eventually I learned the hard way that I could not be the blue power ranger.) One profession that I did not hear really as a child from any of my peers when that question was asked was the desire for someone to become a farmer. This of course may have to do with my geographical position as I live in the second biggest city in the United States. However we did of course learn briefly about farmers and generally what they do, yet never did I hear that they earned lots of money, in fact we were told that most farmers did not make much money at all. So why is it that it is actually a common misconception that all farmers are rich. This is pretty shocking to me so we are going to look at this in more detail.

In all actuality, farming is not a career path recommended for those wanting to become millionaires, or even to become fairly wealthy. If this is what you desire in a lifestyle, then farming is not for you. This is not to say that there aren’t wealthy farmers, saying that would simply be not true in the slightest. Yet at the same time the majority of farmers do the job for more of a noble cause, because they love the lifestyle and the idea of producing food for thousands, even millions of people and in essence feeding them. To further reiterate this point I reference Matthew J. Lohr, Commissioner from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He states this, “In Virginia it’s usually more like, “I hope I can make a decent living for my family.” If your goal is to get rich, frankly, there are many ways to accomplish that goal that are easier and quicker than getting rich through agriculture. We do have some wealthy farmers in Virginia, and I am proud of them. But even among those who are wealthy, I think the motivators for farmers tend to be of a more noble nature. We farm because we love it or because we love the lifestyle or we think it’s a good way to raise our children. We may farm out of a deep-seated desire to help, to make a positive difference in the world. Or we simply may realize that farming is not only the world’s oldest profession, but that it is the only one that is truly necessary. Bottom line, when we can’t feed ourselves, nothing else matters because we will be dead in four or five days.” (www.vdacs.virginia.gov, 2013)

From this quote we understand that being a farmer is not a position of wealth, but a position of nobility. Farmers are committed to serving us and providing food for our tables so we may eat. As Mr. Lohr stated “without that food we’d be dead in four or five days”, and this is true. Farmers don’t make a whole heck of a lot of money, but the difference that they make on our society is unimaginable. So there you have it, another one of those false misconceptions about agriculture, debunked.

Sources: http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/news/releases-b/031413agwk.shtml