Top Ten Myths About Agriculture & Farming

Agriculture and Farming are the backbone of this world – without em’ we’d starve. So why do so many people want to pass along lies and myths about the industry that keeps them fed? In honor of National Ag week, we’re setting the record straight on the industry we love.

(DISCLAIMER: The below post is a generalization of the top things we hear about the Ag industry that are not true. Should you disagree or want to know more about any of these statements, we welcome you to research more on each topic. We have included several sources from the USDA to Bloggers that can be found in the comments section to help with that. )

1. The Myth – All Farms are large, corporate Farms. The Truth – 97 percent of all farms are family owned and run. Don’t let the names of some fool you, just because they are incorporated does not mean they are a corporation. These families live and work on this land that has, in many cases, been in their family for generations. (source:

2. The Myth – Farmers don’t care about their animals. The Truth – people claiming Farmers don’t care about their animals couldn’t be further from the truth. Farmers do what they need, when the animals need it to make sure they are taken care of. Between staying up all night to tend to a calving heifer to making sure they’re fed and the water isn’t frozen when the temperature is in the negative – animals are cared for like they are family and for good reason – they pretty much are. (good read:

3. The Myth – Farmers don’t care about the environment. The Truth – With the newest technology and latest advances, Farmers are able to use less fertilizer and chemicals, while producing more. Additionally, the land is the Farmer’s resource, livelihood and future – why would they want to compromise it?

4. The Myth – Small Farms are not important. The Truth – small farms (up to 150 acres) are the backbone of the Ag industry. Small Farms allow for people to get locally produced food and maintain a personal relationship with the Farmer. (Source:

5. The Myth – Farmers are uneducated. The Truth – Not only do they have the job of Farming, the must also be mechanics, weathermen, veterinarians, business men & women, the marketers, scientists and so much more. Long gone are the days of relying on old farm wisdom and how people have always done it. Times have changed as have the duties and required knowledge of being a Farmer.

6. The Myth –  All Farmers are rich. The Truth – Farmers don’t farm for the money, they do it because they love it. That’s not to say that there aren’t Farmers out there that are rich but a few does not equal a whole. Farmers farm because they love the lifestyle, they know there is no better way to raise kids than on a farm or they know it is truly the most important profession out there. Whatever the reason may be, it sure isn’t for the money. (source:

7. The Myth – Meat from the grocery store is filled with hormones that are unnatural and unhealthy for people. The Truth – Meats from the store have some of the strictest regulations of any industry. Before a cow can be cleared to be slaughtered, they must test to make sure that any antibiotics or hormones have completely passed through their system. Additionally, many other foods naturally contain hormone levels thousands of times higher than those found in dairy and meat products. (

For example 4 oz. beef from steer given hormones has 1.6 nanograms of estrogen while 4 oz. beef from untreated steer has 1.2 nanograms of estrogen. Compare this to 4 oz. raw cabbage has 2700 ng estrogen and the average soy latte (one cup of soymilk) has 30,000 nanograms of estrogen (source:

8. The Myth – Farmers directly pocket money they make from crops and livestock. The Truth – many people seem to think that food prices are driven by what the Farmer wants to charge stores so that they make as much money as possible. However, only about 15-16 cents goes to the Farmer – the rest goes to paying things such as transportation, labor, processing etc. Unfortunately, many of the the direct and indirect costs that farmers face, such as insurance  or feed, are not as easily covered. (source:

9. The Myth – Food costs too much. The Truth – Our food prices are some of the most affordable and abundant in the world. For a quick comparison, American’s food cost makes up about 6.7 percent of our incomes. In comparison, Japan was 14 percent; China was 21.3 percent; and India a staggering 51 percent. How’s that for affordable food? (source:…….(

10. The Myth – There’s no future in Agriculture. The Truth – the best future is in Agriculture. Not only are the numbers of graduates with degrees in an Ag-related field growing, so too are the numbers of young Farmers getting out on the farms.

Don’t forget to thank your Farmer, three times a day, everyday.

70 thoughts on “Top Ten Myths About Agriculture & Farming

  1. Hi folks! Montana Angus breeder here. Love the myth busting. I vvould share, but I have 1 Question. # 7….cattle are tested before slaughter? Is this nevv? I vvorked in a packing plant in college, and it didn’t happen there.

      1. tested and inspected are tvvo different things. Again, I’m a myth buster, and I just am vvanting all of our collective info to be very accurate. Animals are not tested before they leave farms. It is up to the integrity of the rancher to follovv vvithdravval times on any drugs given. Most ranchers I knovv follovv these guildlines, just vvondering if that verbiage shouldn’t be changed so that the info is super accurate. If vve vvant the trust of the public, vve must be hyper vigilant about our ovvn truths. Keep up your great vvork!

      2. Oh this is incorrect. We market cattle from our farm and no testing is done before shipping. Where did this information come from?

      3. ….why rthey given antibio in the first place…????…m? mygoodness….did the NATIVES hope or wish they had bio etc for the WILD BISON..

    1. All cattle, lambs, hogs, and chickens that go into our grocery stores are USDA inspected by law to ensure the carcass quality is acceptable, antibiotic levels are below the designated acceptable level, and that withdrawal times on said antibiotics are met. This is law. Not an option. USDA grading is another, voluntary program, in which a USDA grader assigns a quality score on to each carcass based on characteristics such as color, marbling (intramuscular fat) and leanness. This is basically a measure of an estimate of how the meat will taste. For more details, go to:!ut/p/a1/jZFRT4MwEMc_DY9di8yF-UZIzIYOXBYd42Xp4FpIoCVtkcxPb8EHnRm69qV39_tf2__hDKc4E_S94tRUUtB6iLPFkWzJwl2GJEqW7iNZx2_b5CkMib-7t8DhDyD2btRPrID8p49uuOBObcINx1lLTYkqwSROORhEhe5BaZwyKQukKQNzRozmBukSwNhCq2TR5YMVFi6sVLcwhjj9Po8lrmhRCY4kQw1QM-Za2dVGnVFfDgkFyJSAiooxUCBy0MfJLj8gvMfZ5ReJa_c69nbzVRR7JJn_Bq7M4AuYNtm6yGt5Ggd-CMTJ861dCoZHqFmnbLo0ptUPDnFI3_czLiWvYZbLxiHXJKXUBqeXJG6b1_TjOViR6qXZ-zr4BEpuht4!/#1

  2. plants don’t have estrogen FACT. they have isoflavones which is considered plant estrogen but has completely different effects on the human body and is not harmful in anyway. While estrogen given to animals IS harmful to the human body. Get your facts straight.

    1. Please . . . tell me how the endocrine hormone estrogen, which is produced in droves in our body, is harmful. I would like to know. Please, use scientific data to back up your opinion.

    2. Not to be disrespectful, but coming from a production and Veterinary Medicine background, I have personal experience on this topic.
      If you’d like, you can read the FDA’s stand on this:
      ” People are not at risk from eating food from animals treated with these drugs because the amount of additional hormone following drug treatment is very small compared with the amount of natural hormones that are normally found in the meat of untreated animals and that are naturally produced in the human body.”

    3. To clarify your FACT-you are correct-soy products have isoflavones. They also have phytoestrogen,which mimics the function of estrogen in the human body. A simple google search will reveal many pros AND cons of these phytoestrogens for humans, which continue to be widely studied.
      One interesting fact I found very quickly from a hard science (ie FACT based) source ( is that in the United States, soy formula for babies is easily available “over-the-counter.” However, in European countries, it is available only by prescription.
      The fact is that plant based phytoestrogens are real hormones which have a real effect on the human body. In regards to this article, the FACT is that 30,000ng is a lot more than <2.0ng.
      Please continue to research your FACTS, I encourage you to consider the sources of your information and learn to distinguish between opinion and evidence-based knowledge.

  3. I take issue with your first point.

    If you are incorporated, you are a corporation. A corporation can be private, family-owned like the 97% of farms, or even a mammoth like Cargill. Corporations can also be publicly owned and traded on the likes of the NYSX or TSX. The fact is, if a business is incorporated, it’s a corporation and stating otherwise is just plain untruthful. There is nothing inherently wrong about corporations, and I believe it’s a word that’s become really maligned due to the actions of the BPs and Enron of the world.

    For small farmers, being incorporated is a huge advantage. Corporations have reduced liability compared to sole proprietorships. In a business with volatile market prices and high debts (not many are paying for their new JD with a briefcase full of cash!) this is a big advantage if things go south. In addition to that, the farmer can reduce his tax burden and re-invest that money into the farm.

    1. We are not saying there is anything wrong with corporation, being incorporated or anything in between. What we are saying is that there is constantly a negative connotation towards farms that are incorporated or LLC which obviously are not right.

      1. I think Anon was pointing out that the your Myth (All Farms are large, corporate Farms) and Truth (97 percent of all farms are family owned and run.) don’t match up. Being a family owned farm does not imply that the farmt isn’t a corporation nor does it mean it’s not a large corporate farm.

      2. Right – but we are alluding to the negative connotation of the myth. Many people pair the large corporate farms with smaller ones and assume that they are the same.

  4. I do agree with the above article. I am a farmer’s son, though will not become a farmer myself. For most in this business it is a way of life not just a job with weekends and bank holidays, a bit commitment.

  5. Thanks for posting, it was an interesting read! In the interest of clarity and just good internet practice in general, can you provide some sources/resources where you got your information? I think you make some good points, but in general they seem like generic statements that don’t have information to back them up. E.g. “The Truth – small farms (up to 150 acres) are the backbone of the Ag industry.” How are they they the backbone? What percentatge of farms are “small farms”?

    What about the cost of food section? Without knowing the average income of those countries, listing those percentages is misleading. If the average income in India is very low, of course food will make up a larger percentage of income. And are we even comparing the same foods across those countries? It’d be nice to know where you get information like that. I’m not disagreeing with your general claim, and I’ve even done some academic research on agriculture in the EU, where food prices are higher than the US due to more governement subsidies. Subsidies, by the way, are a huge factor that would be nice for you to touch upon in future posts.

    The Myth – All Farmers are rich. Why not state the average farmer income? Wouldn’t that clear things up? Instead, you just make a statement with no support, other than the cliche “farmers don’t work for money, they work because they love it.” Again, I’m not agreeing that farmers are rich, but basic data would help your claims speak louder.

    1. Here are the answers to each point:
      1. Small Farms are the backbone of ag- over 80 percent of farms are classified as small farms, meaning they make less than $250,000 a year – though many don’t come close to that number. Additionally, small farms are able to provide fresh produce and meat quickly and locally while larger farms may not be able to. In addition, since they are able to maintain a more -one-on-one approach with the consumers, it allows for them to help many realize what exactly goes into growing and producing food.

      2. The income of the countries is not pertinent to this fact – as long as you have a percentage you can compare them. No we are not necessarily comparing apples to apples, however, we are making a general claim that many people who are not as informed as you and I are and assume that their food comes from a grocery store are not as aware of how little they truly pay for food in this country.

      3. Farmers income averages around $100,000 depending on the year and their success with crop and livestock. However, for a large number of those families, their income comes from off-farm sources such as jobs in town. you can find concrete facts here: With this being just a general post about the myths we were not going to go down a rabbit hole for each point, though we could. Yes, more information and evidence would make the claims stronger, however, we could write a book about all of the misconceptions about agriculture and this is just a blog post. We want this to generate conversation and thoughts, as well as provoke those who read it to delve into their questions by researching for themselves.

      Good resources we recommend include:
      (the last three are blogs that do an excellent job on generating conversation between ag & non-ag people as well as combating normal misconceptions of Farming and ranching)

      1. Thanks for those additional resources! I realize that your original post was not meant to be of a huge scope explaining everything, but adding some basic sources/explanations helps generate more worthwhile discussions and gets your point across better, at least in my opinion.

        I do want to emphasize, though, that what you said in your second point about incomes not mattering is simply incorrect. Representing the cost of food only as a percentage of income across different countries is misleading. For instance, the food costs could be identical across two countries, but if one country has lower average incomes, that cost would show up as a larger percentage of income.

        Here’s an example (made-up numbers to show the concept):

        US: $2500 cost of food, $40,000 income = ~6.3% of income for food

        India: $2500 cost of food, $5,000 income = ~50% of income for food

        In this example, food is the same cost, but due to large income disparity, the percentaige is wildly different. Obviously this is just an extreme example to prove the point, but it highlights the limitations of using percentage of income as a measurement, especially without knowing the details used.

      2. Mac,

        So what is your point? The reason to use percent of income spent on food is that it shows what portion of their disposable income is used for food purchases, regardless of income level. If someone spends a higher percentage of their income on food, they have less income available to spend on other things, indicating a lower standard of living. This is a very common metric for indicating standard of living.

      3. As for myth #6, the reason some people think farmers are rich is because of their net worth. All those buildings, land, and equipment add up to a high net worth, sometimes in the $millions. But those are capital investments that are not liquid, and are needed for the farm’s operation. Annual income is quite volatile, and some years farmers do not break even. You can’t eat land, and if forced to sell it, you are reducing your ability to make a livelihood.

      4. @BEdge

        Mac is right. The percentage of our income we spend on food is a misleading statistic. It does not prove what the author claims it proves: that our food is cheaper than food in other countries. As Mac showed, percentage of income spent on food can be greatly influenced by income level. A billionaire spends less of their income, proportionally, on food than I do even if the food they are buying is more expensive. Often, our food is cheaper, but not because of that statistic, but because of government subsidies.

    2. ……the whole FARMING way of LIFE has been hi jacked by the BIG INDUSTRY // BUSINESS lik monsanto/ bill gates etc….an the MADDNESS must it will soon, ihave no worry about it..the GMO FOOD is wrong an seeds..we must DOWNSIZE THE BIG FARMS BY FORCE..BY LAW…ther r no small farmers left , all r gone..OTTAWA would a plan to DESTROY them back in the late 60;s…to wipe them out…we must share the land again, plain an simple…radio liberty // mercola com….cancer truth net…………………..

      1. Whut? Ever heard of “economy of scale”? Farms are the size they are to be able to spread our costs out. That $200,000 tractor costs the same whether you’re farming 10 acres or 10,000, but your cost per acre changes a lot with your size. Reducing our cost per acre for inputs (efficiency) helps us weather the harder times and keeps availability of food and fiber more consistent and affordable for consumers.

  6. Marc I think that the percentage is a fairly accurate indicator of food costs. The fact that you have to spend 50% of your income as opposed to 6.3% of your income on food is very telling indicator of food costs. This means that your disposable income is vastly reduced. Disposable income is the true measure of wealth. That is the money left over after you have met the basic costs of living in your society.If you are spending a larger percentage of your total income on a basic necessity like food then the cost of that item is higher. We are a wealthy country not because the absolute cost of food is cheaper, but because our percentage of total income spent on food is lower. Therefore we have more disposable income to spend on non-essential items. The fact that the US is an agricultural power house is a major factor in its standing as the most powerful nation in the world.

  7. I can honestly appreciate the intentions of this article, but it’s really almost as much of a drive-by of agriculture as the stories that perpetuate myths to begin with. All these giant claims are made without any corroboration, or framework for showing consumers how to independently learn about agriculture. If you don’t like myths, then show consumers how to fish… for truth!

    Either way, I would have rather heard more about who farmers are, instead of a kind of a clarification of who they’re not.

    Also, a couple of the claims are inaccurate:

    LLC ≠ corporation is technically false. I understand the concern over the connotation of corporate meaning the farm operator is an employee/pawn of some giant multinational, which is why I wish it were explained that corporate can mean anything from a mom and pop LLC, or a family owned corporation with multiple shareholders (usually fewer than 10), who are almost always family members.

    The 6.7% of income on food stat is out of context, and essentially inaccurate. The most recent median US household income was somewhere around $53K with, with about 2.5 people in a household.

    So for that household smack in the middle, 6.7% of $53K is less than $50 a week for food, for 2.5 people, after you account for income tax. That’s low, by any standard of living. To put it in perspective, last I knew, SNAP was allotting $50/week max for a single person household.

    What the numbers actually say is that in 2012, 6.6% of US income was spent on food eaten at home, but that only accounts for about half of the money spent on food.

    Again, altogether I would have rather heard about who farmers are, instead of a clarification of who they’re not.

      1. Did my question not pass the moderation stage? I thought it was a decent question and a fair one to be asking…

  8. The 6.6% statistic is coming from the table at the bottom of the page:
    “Percent of household final consumption expenditures spent on food, alcoholic beverages, and tobacco that were consumed at home, by selected countries, 2012”

    The appropriate figure would come from one of the tables that includes all food expenditures. Pink Tractor and WSU neglected to use the data properly, and should not be cited.

      1. Ok phillfire. Since you obviously believe in socialism, I will give you the fact that socialism is a brilliant concept. The idea of everyone being equal and having equal opportunity and reward is perfect. However, as society is proving with welfare, unemployment, and disability benefits, the concept is not reality. Next, your redistribution of “wealth” idea is fundamentally flawed. No farmer that has worked the land for all of his life should be forced to give up the land that he worked so hard to keep before you should be forced to sell your car and house and have that money taken to “share the wealth.”

  9. I have a question related to the size and number of small farms. What percentage of the food comes from small farms? In other words, theoretically one giant mega-corp could produce more bio-engineered, GMO product than a million small family run farms.

    Also, how many small farms also produce mutant forms of naturally occurring foods? How many use Monsanto and other recombinant genetics, artificial hormones, “owned” genetics and amino acids, and other products that are ravaging our rights, crops, waterways, etc. I have few objections — maybe none — to “modern farming,” but the corrupt legal problems stemming from the mega-corps and their ownership of our systems and products scare me.

    1. …THIS post is flawed BIG TIME…small farms r all gone..even the VACCENT abandon yards rbeing destroyed by the greedy MENNO// HUTTER// etc FARMERS ….OTTAWA made this happen by design ..began in late 60;s…MONSANTO has to be destroyed fr the soon GOD will end ther days here……..

  10. For crying out loud people…stop picking this article apart.The author is simply trying to defend the American farmer and Rancher from the myths and lies that have been generated by people that dont have a clue about the dedication, hard work and sacrifices that go into holding a farm or ranch together. No other industry is affected so much by the adverse weather conditions i.e. severe drought, flooding, late freezes,hale…..not to mention the incredible increasing input cost of crops and expensive equipment. If you want to pick something apart,why dont you start with the failed campaign promises of the politicians that we have voted in to run this country…Just saying..Good article…Keep up the good work.

    1. ..OK RON…the input COST can be reduced BIGTIME…by go back to having your own SEED…smaller less costly equipment etc..yes that means back to SHARE THE LAND…DOWNSIZE THE BIG FARMS !!! …the author is not helping things..iknow what iknow….stop the NWO// PTB etc….

  11. Excellent list here! I have a question about the environment though. I agree that all farmers need to take care of their land. The benefits of GPS technology and soil testing are to save on the bottom line of the farmer, and yes the environment reaps the benefit of this reward. The less fertilizer and chemical statement is a bit misleading though, as this is determined more by the higher input costs and desire to lower them as much as possible than by environmental benefits.

    How do we come to terms with the breaking of natural areas and the drainage of so much of our water then? How do we convince ourselves that this is a sustainable practice and good for the environment? We see chemical and fertilizer inputs unintentionally ending up in river bodies and lakes, causing harm to others downstream.

      1. Where do you propose to get the people to do the work if you take the land away from the present day farmers? Do you have any idea how long it takes to walk an acre of land with a hoe to control the weeds? Why should farmers be expected to work for hours in the heat and dirt without modern equipment while city slickers work in air conditioned offices? When I started to farm someone was laughed at around here if he clamed to have a 25 bushel wheat crop. Today that would be a failure. This due to the research and development done by the ag companies that you also want to do away with. How many people do you propose that we eliminate if we downsize food production?

      2. // ok here we go….dennis the people would RETURN BACK TO THE LAND FR THE CITIES…w//ther kids/children by now iguess, us babyBOMMERS IN MANITOBA//SASK//AB all of CANADA were driven off the land by evil gov;ts govt;s ..its that simple….when will people realize what happened to us all…we were taken for FOOLS…..a famliy can work one acre easy w// hoes an maybe a garden TILLER etc…an plus iwould rather see 25 bushel crops of REAL WHEAT then the new GMO CRAPP…ITS ALL RUBBISH the new seeds….see MERCOLA//ihsite com…please…..we can replace 77% of the STUDENT LOANS W// SMALLfarm, business loans…..the schools fr gr2 to 22 teach mainly lies…nurses don;t even know what PHARMAICEA means in the greek…………

  12. I really appreciate your last point. I think with the GMO debate a lot of people assume that big corporations will take over and less younger generations are going to be interested in taking up farming but this is untrue. And thank goodness for that. I agree, that the best in agriculture is in the future. Good post, thank you!

    1. /// wake up ufool….MONSANTO IS EVIL………r young people by the millons in canada starting to farm ??? this spring….or small business also…?? …see joggler66……………………please…

      1. phillfire Do you expect to be considered relevant? You are spouting the untruths of internet fear mongers and using poor grammar. By the way you write we have to consider a lack of education.
        Here’s just one fact for you. Very few people want to farm. It is hard, dirty work even with modern equipment. The children of farm families left the farm for better living conditions and better pay. They do not want to come back. You will find the same thing happening around the world. The simple life is now in town not on the farm.
        Those of us left on the farm have had to embrace the mechanization and large company mindset just to survive. Most small to medium farmers survive because of a job in town and the luck of being near a large city that will buy their value added produce. The further from a populations center you get the more likely you are to be a large farm.
        You will not see a return of people to the farm. That ship has sailed. Most city would starve on the farm.

  13. Superb website you have here but I was curious if you knew of any message boards that
    cover the same topics discussed here? I’d really like to be a part of community where I can get responses from
    other knowledgeable people that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Bless you!

  14. I grew up in a farm family…I am married to a farmer…and most of my life I have held jobs in the ag related community. It is very definitely a way of life. Can money be made? Absolutely, but it is a roll of the dice every year. If prices are up on product, down on fertilizers and chemicals and the weather cooperates…you have a descent chance of making money. But, nature can be cruel, as it has been for the past three years in California. The cost of water, if you can get any, has driven the cost of farming through the roof. Drip irrigation has helped, but some still get up at 3am to switch the water. There are no “vacations” from March thru October for us. It is pretty much seven days a week and long hours on top of that. You have to love it to do it. When I hear the “Chipotle’s” of the world bash farmers…it eats at me. I will never cross their threshold again. Thank you for giving a brief glimpse into the truth about farms and families. The uninformed speak much louder than the educated…we can use all the help we can get…and we wouldn’t choose another way of life. It teaches that hard work, values, integrity and devotion can produce a wonderful life. Our children learn first hand.

  15. After reading through the posts, I have some additional commentary…farming is the foundation of this nation. Most every multi-generational American has family that scraped the land to earn an income. I heard “who is the farmer?” They are families who inherited their land and their passion. Sons who want to build on what their father and grandfather started. Is that so difficult to see? When have we seen the likes of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or maybe Joe Montana purchasing land and raising cattle after earning their billions? Anyone who is smart knows that farming is not a get rich quick opportunity. Making brash decisions will lose your entire livelihood and worse, your family’s legacy.

    If you wish to know the farmer, leave downtown or your suburb and drive out of the city. If you don’t like what you are eating…don’t eat it…you have options…vote with your mouth…and extra bonus…at least while you are chewing your mouth won’t be flapping about something you truly know nothing about….and lastly….there is no such thing as GMO wheat!

  16. Yes, You are right, all farmers are rich in mind, Farming is so hard work but he can do it because he loves it. He loves plants, vegetables, farm land, etc. thanks for the article.

  17. Nooch, reed/sugar farm is probably the easiest autofarm to build, also speedy/side Vik and quiff all have enchanting rooms they prob wouldn’t mind you using if you don’t want to walk all the way to petes

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