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New almond planting

Why do farmers have to defend making a profit?

When did profit become an evil word with nefarious intentions?

A farmer I know was apparently quoted in a mainstream media piece recently. He apparently used the word “profit” when talking to a reporter and the reporter repeated it in the story.

That’s what reporters do.

I’ve not seen the story; I merely heard of the story over lunch from the farmer who was quoted.

He apparently caught some grief over it from an unsuspecting direction.

Apparently someone associated with a commodity group saw the piece and did not like the implication the word “profit” gave to the mainstream public.


I’m being purposefully vague because my point isn’t to single out the commodity group or the individual who shared those concerns.

My question over this issue has to do with our heightened sensitivities to certain words and how homogenized messages can sometimes be the same as allowing others to define who you are and what you do.

We all know how well that’s worked for agriculture and other groups.

For some of us, words still mean things. I personally think we’re on a dangerous path when we start trying to cull certain words from our lexicon because of feelings and hypersensitivities.

Is it wrong that farmers grow things for profit? Farmers have been doing this for several thousand years. It’s not new.

Why is it perfectly fine for a software engineer or hardware developer to make several thousand percent profit on his program or gizmo, but someone with large amounts of capital invested in land, equipment, trees, vines and seed is somehow evil because their goal at the end of the season is to have more money in their pocket than they started with at the beginning of the season?

The availability and willingness of some to tell agriculture’s story should be lauded. I know some who do a great job of telling their story. Yes, they are sometimes misquoted and taken out of context – that’s the sad reality of journalism at times.

The ability of American agriculture to turn a profit is important, and not just to the livelihoods of those who pick it, pack it and plant it. It’s important to those who work in jobs that support agriculture. It’s even important to the kid at the fair who just sold her hog or steer and plans to use some of those proceeds (profits) to attend college.

Farm profits increase our food choices at the local grocery store and restaurant. Let’s celebrate that and not let others get away with promoting ideas that farmers should not be allowed to financially gain by what they do.

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