Agriculture Advocacy

The “Rich” Farmer

It has been one of my biggest pet peeves when people look at me and say, “You’re a farmer, you’re rich”. I was once told by a car dealer that they wouldn’t give me a deal on a car because they KNEW how much farmers were making and knew I had the money. Well let me tell you what kind of money I REALLY have.

Yes my farm is worth a million or so. Once it’s paid off. Once I pay off all my debt to the bank to buy the tractors, equipment, and other necessities to make some MONEY off the land. Also, I’m not SELLING the land so I really don’t have that money. That’s like saying, well if you sell your house you’d have $200,000 so I know you can afford something. That’s what I don’t understand. I’m worth a million once I sell it or die. Wow isn’t that a great life goal. Once I die or sell everything I love and treasure, I’ll be rich.  Wouldn’t that just be the BEST? Not. Do these people realize that we are NOT rich. Our net worth is not what we actually have or aim to have. We buy the land to farm the land to feed the world. Why can’t that one sentence be enough for people to understand? My dad is 60 years old and still paying off our farm that he bought in 1994. He is still paying off 200 acres. So every load of cattle we sell doesn’t go into our pocket. Granted we aren’t living in poverty. My dad build us a nice new home and a new machine shed, but don’t think that we paid for that right away. My dad is still paying off those too. I’m not asking for sympathy, I’m just explaining that we aren’t as rich as everyone believes. Many probably would think we don’t need the machine shed, but I disagree. That keeps our million dollars of machinery better protected and longer lasting. Our house was a necessity–our old house was over 100 years old and it was cheaper to build new than to try to fix the old house. These are the things others don’t realize. They see us driving expensive tractors and using expensive equipment and think it’s just been handed to us. We’ve had to work for everything we have just like everyone else. Not only do we pay welfare and food stamps like everyone else, we’re the ones that grow the food to be purchased by food stamps. So technically we’re paying more than you, but we’re not complaining.

Others think we get a break on taxes. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Don’t tell me that your husband who drives semi’s on the highways everyday has to pay more in taxes to drive on the roads and that farmers should have to pay more too because they ruin the highways pulling grain carts and driving on it. You pay what we pay for land and then we can talk. Don’t tell me that I’m a farmer and so I got all my college paid for. WRONG. FASFA wouldn’t give me a dime because it looked like my parents were millionaires on paper. I didn’t any scholarships (unless for my grades) because it appeared that I didn’t need any help. Granted I am paying for college and my parents aren’t so I don’t know why it matters what my parents make, but that’s a different story. The only way that farmers get a break on their taxes is if they buy something really expensive. So ya there taxes go down, but they STILL are paying for something. Many think this is how farmers cheat, but if you think about it they’re just growing their business. They need this equipment anyway so why not buy it, decrease their tax money a little bit, and help grow their business. Farming is a business like everything else. Why aren’t companies/businesses/organizations given as much grief as farmers are. They do the same things we do. We just get hassled for it. It’s sad to think that an adult store who sells, well you know, doesn’t get any grief, but farmers who raise EVERYONE’S food does.

 

This is just my rant for the day. I was always hassled growing up for being a rich ‘farm girl’. When actually I was far from it. My family has NEVER had money. We aren’t poor, but we sure as heck aren’t rich. It was hard for people to understand that when farmers sell crops or livestock that they don’t deposit all that money. It goes to pay off bills that you’ve acquired throughout the year.

 

How do YOU feel about farmers being considered ‘rich’? Ever feel like people have been misled on how our operations really make money? It doesn’t matter the amount of acres you have. Someone once told me, “Everyone is poor. The bigger you are the bigger expenses you have. Just because you have a lot of acres doesn’t mean you don’t have a lot to pay for.”

 

 

Comments (10)

  • Exactly! We don’t just deposit the money. Not only does it cover the bills for the year but a lot goes towards next year, seed and equipment upkeep. I feel a lot more people would appreciate farmers if we stop providing all of their food 🙂

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  • When you finally have a good year farming the amount of taxes you have to pay will darn near take most of the profit that you thought you would have! I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else in the world!

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  • This is one of my biggest pet peeves as well. I’ve drafted a post a while back that mentions the money stereotype but have been timid to publish it. We have a really nice house/shop so it’s hard to convince people that we aren’t floating in dollar bills here. We work hard and make payments just like everyone else but we live within our means. We took a risk we knew we could afford and we’ve had no regrets. My brother has been trying to convince us to invest in more ground so my husband can meet that goal of being a full time farmer sooner but we are so hesitant in going into more debt. My brother said we have to take huge risks in order to be successful. It’s scary! People have no idea what it’s like to have that kind of debt floating over their heads. We do not have machinery debt because all of our stuff is old but I could only imagine….. And it’s only getting more expensive!

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  • know a man who raises 1500 acres of corn per year. Last year he was selling it for $7.00 per bushel and I understand he gets between 185 to 225 bushels per acre. At 200 bushels per acre that’s 300,000 bushel @$7.00 per acre = $2,100,000.00 . He says he only cleared $45,000.00 for the year. Just built a home for $250,000.00, a new SUV, a new GMC Sierra P/U, 2 new cars for his daughters. Just how in heavens name can you buy those kind of material things and only make $45,000.00. I know it is total bullshit. I have heard him say he gets to deduct most of his electric for his home, the food they buy. NO WAY IN GOD’S NAME CAN ANYONE BUY WITH THAT KIND OF CLEAR MONEY.;

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    • You have to remember that many coop’s may NOT have been giving him the full $7.00 for the loads. It depended on the quality last year. Also did you figure in the amount he spent on seed for the 1,500 acres? Bags of corn are around $200 dollars. Take that times the 1,500. $300,000. Did you also remember to figure out the cost of nitrogen that he put into the ground? That’s at least a few thousand dollars. What about the cost of diesel to fill the tractors that are planting these 1,500 acres. That for sure is probably around $10,000 to fill his tanks. He also has to pay for chemicals to protect the plants. There is ANOTHER couple thousand dollars. Next up is repairs. What about if one of his tractors needed some repairs. That could be around $2,000 a tractor. Did he have anyone help him plant? There are labor cost. Also farmers are going over the same piece of ground at least three times. That’s a lot of gas and wear/tear on the tractor=more money spent. Yes he may have a $250,000 home, but I could afford that I make the same kind of money he does. Not as much even. It’s how you save and spend your money. He also probably has his wife’s income to help too. I completely agree that it looks like he makes a lot of money, but I bet he’s not lying. Ask him someday to show you his expenses. I bet they line up a lot better than you think. And rich people normally don’t lie about being rich. Plus, so what if he has a great year one year, this year he isn’t going to. He has to be able to bend with the markets. Farming is a gamble.

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    • Deacon, don’t make assumptions or judge people until you are educated on how an industry works. You obviously have no idea what the overhead to run a farm costs. You can sit and crunch numbers all day but when you mentioned he only brought in 45 grand as his income, that sounds just about right to me because I know where we need to be in order for my husband to farm full time. You have to realize that it cost several million a year to run a farm operation that big. He can’t go without paying his bills. Have you checked the price of a combine lately? How about fertilizer and seed? Do you even REALIZE how much fertilzer and seed costs? And he is paying retail, by the way. How do you know that he and his wife haven’t been saving their entire life to build that home and purchase vehicles for their kids? That’s EXACTLY what my parents did. They saved and saved and saved some more. We went without vacations, name brands, going out to eat and a lot when I was growing up. However, by the time I was 16 I had a car paid for to drive and my college was paid for as well. In return however, I worked two jobs in high school and college and was able to save that money to put towards my future home.

      What kind of a home did they live in before? Anyone can buy all of those things. Sign your name. It might be EASIER for a farmer to get a loan for those things because he has the farm ground he worked very hard to have to back as collateral. If he was bringing in over 2 million a year, I would think he would build a heck of a lot more than a $250,000 home, don’t you? These days a $250,000 home is about average. It’s nothing fancy. I’m not too far from Chicago and Carmel so that doesn’t impress me. I’ve never heard of a farmer deducting their food from taxes. Maybe he gets a kick back from one of the suppliers he sells to.

      The reason that farmer is able to buy those things because of his goals and values that a lot of Americans lack.

      I am so, so sorry that you feel this way about farmers. I apologize, but I did have to laugh when you said it was total bullshit. I do not want to start a fight but it just breaks my heart how uneducated and unappreciative our consumers can be.

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      • It really is crazy how unappreciative people are. But seriously, so what if he actually brought home $2.1million (you know because farming doesn’t cost anything, ha…ha ha). He worked hard and earned it. After you take out everything that Kellie pointed out he still has to pay for other bills like everyone else plus all the upkeep and bills from the farm. He also has to be able to buy seed, etc. for the next spring. And when building a new house, who doesn’t spend ATLEAST $250,000? These days $250,000 wouldn’t be that impressive of a house. A house in a housing development in a large town around where I live is like $500,000. So it looks like those city folk must be clearing pretty good money too. Yes, I got a pretty good laugh from his comment as well.

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    • By the way, Deacon. My husband still farmed even when he was only breaking even when he first started out. I asked him what he would do if some day we could no longer support our farm because of the high costs he simply stated he would still do it. That’s the kind of person he is and that is who is putting food on your table. Yes, they are some shady farmers out there just like in any industry but don’t let them be your stereotype and for the love of God, PLEASE stop comparing your life to your neighbor’s life.

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  • Oh and the reason for the new cars—lower interest rates for newer vehicles. He could be like my dad and just want to make sure that his kids have SAFE vehicles to drive in. The girls might even be paying for them themselves. Also, sometimes trading in your vehicle (such as his truck) will get you lower payments. Make sure you get the facts before you start accusing them of anything. Like I said before, I make around the same (45,000) only 10,000 short of that and I can afford my own NEW car, my college education, my rent (which his mortgage might be about the same) , food, cell phone, and still put money into savings.

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  • And like stated up above by Brandy, you have to have to enough money to afford the EXACT same things for the next year. You only get paid one time a year.

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