Minnesota Grower dispels the myth behind label, “factory farmer”

Kandiyohi county corn producer Noah Hultgren scored a coup for conventional farm producers with a column featured last Friday on the business page of the Huffington Post, a blog site that is one of the most popular sites on the internet, visited daily by millions of readers.

Hultgren, a young farmer, took the time to explain to the general reader the essential distinction between farm revenues and profits, and what some like to call a “factory farm” is really just a small business. Though his farm operation’s gross revenues of a half million dollars a year put him in the top six percent of all US farms, he notes that it may cost most or all of that half million dollars to produce the crops that generate those sales. This makes farming, at times, a break even or losing proposition, sometimes a narrowly profitable one–he can plan on making $50,000 to $75,000 of income from that $500,000 revenue. Farming, even at his scale, is always a risky proposition–one so risky that most of the so-called ‘factory farmers’ like himself are family-run operations because big agribusinesses like Cargill and ADM wouldn’t come anywhere near a business proposition as risky as row-crop farming.

As Hultgren points out, a business with revenues less than $7 million a year is considered a small business, according to the definitions of the Small Business Administration of the US government. As he points out, the US farm program is aimed at keeping farmers like him, the definition of small businessmen and women, in business. And that’s a win for US consumers, who enjoy the most abundant, economic and safest food supply in the world.

Huffington Post is essentially a clearing house that features the work of dozens of bloggers from across the political spectrum and representing a whole continuum of different business sectors, interests and academic disciplines. In addition to farming, Hultgren serves as a director for Minnesota Corn Growers Association, a 6,000-member grassroots farm commodity organization with headquarters in Shakopee, Minnesota.

To read all of Hultgren’s column featured on the Huffington Post, go to

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/noah-hultgren/face-of-a-giant-agribusin_b_861502.html

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