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Small Business, Farm or Feel Good

June 27, 2014

RabbitMeatSo often I see people discuss food prices and along with that topic, farm prices comes up. Greedy farmers withholding and driving up beef costs, pork costs, etc. One exchange resulted in a comment that small farmers are doing it for food but larger ones for profit.

OK so that leaves us…where?! Without covering expenses – profit – how long will a farm exist? Should there be perpetual donations, and if it is then what happens when someone calls it a scam? A farm is often a small business. It must generate a profit in order to survive. Too often, the relation of food costs and farm costs isn’t as near as people think.

A recent article took a look at some facts, and some points in the rising food cost issue. Is it greedy that, as a small direct sell place, we want 80 cents or a dollar rather than 30 cents? Is it bad that for a minority of customers, we seek to make the most of each of those dollars?

Many farms are bigger than we are, and have the same desire for a reasonable income. While many criticize farm owners, they want workers to be paid $10-15 per hour no matter the job. So that says the vet and the weed puller have the same income or the person watching waters and scraping pens has the same responsibility (or earnings) as the one packing your produce? The jobs are many, and income varies widely depending on job and region.

It comes to several points when prices are considered – region, cost of production (what it costs to raise each unit/pig/pepper/whatever), water, weather and ultimately, what people will pay. Many SAY they will pay more but most don’t – won’t – can’t.

A farm is actually small business and life necessity. While we love what we do, we have phone pills that get shut off notices if we don’t pay, as well as water, power and other things that if you don’t pay what is asked you don’t get it. If farmers do, it’s “greedy” because even if at a loss food should be provided. If it bankrupts the farm to pay to harvest it, is that good business or foolish spending? It seems that it depends on who foots that bill.

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