Are You a Farmer, Producer or Agribusiness?

By Shaun Haney

This week I was scouring the internet looking for stories and I stumbled across a report from SteinbachOnline about what we call people in agriculture.  At the Canadian Young Farmers Forum in Winnipeg earlier this month David Herle a pollster with the Gandalf Group told the group of young farmers that the industry should do away with terms producer, grower and especially agri-business.  Herle’s reason for this is that he feels consumers trust farmers and not businesses.

In my opinion this is ridiculous. Why should we be ashamed that we run businesses. Whether you have a small farm or large farm with twenty employes you are running an agri-business. There is nothing wrong with the word farmer but avoiding producer and agri-buiness makes no sense to me.

See the Steinbach Online Story

I thought I would call my media friend Lyndsey Smith (Editor of Grainews) to talk about David Herle’s comments.  If you cannot see the video of Lyndsey Smith and Shaun Haney discussing the use of farmer, producer and agribusiness and how these words impact consumers , Click Here

Farmers are producers. We grow crops and raise livestock that supply the world with food. I think this whole issue  is like trying to distinguish between an oilman and oil tycoon. Lets be proud of our industry and what we do.  The farmer has evolved overtime from the son that couldn’t get a real job to one of sophistication and complexity .  For someone that runs a farm, being the farmer is just one of the roles that they must execute.  Being a farmer means you are the agronomist, hedger, marketer, HR manager, CEO and others.  Hmmmmm???? That sounds like a business to me.  The consumer is smart and doesn’t require us to dumb things down for them all the time.

Its time that the industry quits selling itself short and starts being proud of what it is.  We are farmers, producers and agri-business people.  Get it straight David Herle and others.

3 thoughts on “Are You a Farmer, Producer or Agribusiness?

  1. I agree completely that we shouldn’t shy away from that fact that a farm is a business. But, at the same time, I also don’t think farmers should ignore the fact that part of their social capital is the beneficial response consumers have to the idea of a “farmer.” I think farmers/producers/growers/etc can benefit from the trust consumers have in “farmers” while educating and being proud of the fact that they operate successful businesses.

  2. Hey Shaun,
    My name is Drew Fowler, a 25 year old grain “farmer” from Eyebrow, Sk. I was in attendance at the Canadian Young Farmers Forum (CYFF) in Winnipeg just a few weeks ago. I felt the exact same way as yourself when I heard we shouldn’t call ourselves business people. Our Saskatchewan young farmer organization (I believe) follows this view with our name alone ” Sask Young Ag Entrepreneurs”. We define our young farmers as business people. When we are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, we have to run “the farm” as a business! Every decision made on our 4000 acres of cereal, pulse and oilseed “farm” is based on business fundamentals such as global supply and demand, markets, and operating costs.
    The perception that David Herle is trying to present to the consumer is very much how the eastern Canadian producers want to be perceived. They are very focused on the “local demand” or “100 mile diet” kind of farming. They do not understand that we as prairie producers export 95% plus of our production. This was my 2nd CYFF that I have attended. It was a huge shock last year at the disconnect between the farmers from the large populated areas of eastern Canada (and BC), and the export dependent prairie provinces of AB, SK, and MB where we run our “Agribusiness’s”!

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