American Farming Myths

By: Cari Lee Mitchell

Myth #1

All farms are large and corporate farms...

*most (97%) farms are still family owned and have been owned for several generations

The family farm is disappearing...

* 97-98% of all U.S. farms are owned and operated by individual families, family partnerships, and family corporations.

The American Farmer by Charlie Allen (2012)

Charlie Allen's song talks about the "family farm" and "generations of dedication and honor."

Fact: "2.2 million farms dot America's rural landscape. About 97 percent of U.S. farms are operated by families- individuals, family partnerships or family corporations."

2.2 million farms dot America’s rural landscape. About 97 percent of U.S. farms are operated by families – individuals, family partnerships or family corporations.


Charlie Allen "American Farmer" (official music video)

Myth #2

Farmers don't care about their animals...

*what do you say to those farmers who get up at 3:30 to check a cow that is calving?

*or feeds specific diets for each individual heifer or chicken so you can have the best meat possible to eat?

*or the checks all the animals water during the winter so it doesn't freeze up?

Takin' Care Of Livestock (Takin' Care of Business Parody) By The Peterson Farm Brothers (May 28, 2015)

The Peterson Farm Brothers have changed this 70's song into one that displays a farmer's real struggle on the farm caring for his animals. They also aren't exaggerating because that is a part of their everyday life as members of a farming family.

Fact: In frigid cold winter months, cattle rancher Joan and Steve Ruskamp have to take many precautionary measures to make sure cattle don't get left out to freeze to death.

"For example, during extreme cold, such as the current polar vortex, farmers will increase the amount of feed that cattle receive in order to boost their metabolism and help produce body heat. Additionally, many farmers will bring in as many cattle as possible to their barns and provide lots of dry bedding. For those cattle that aren’t in the barn, wind breaks are set up in pastures so that cattle can escape from the frosty gusts. Wind breaks can be fences, bales of hay or anything that slows down the speed of the wind.

water tank heater

Water tank heaters are one way farmers and ranchers keep their animals safe during cold weather like the polar vortex.

Fresh water availability is critical to livestock, so some ranchers install water tank heaters to keep fresh water available, and not frozen, at all times. If tanks aren’t equipped with heaters, ranchers will break through the ice in water tanks multiple times per day."

( - a blog/website of true farmers talking about their lives.

Takin' Care of Livestock - (Takin' Care of Business Parody)

Myth #3

Farmers don't care about the environment...

*new technology helps farmers use less chemicals and fertilizers while producing more

*land is a farmer's future so why would they want to hurt it?

Jason Aldean - Amarillo Sky

Amarillo Sky By Jason Aldean (2005)

I chose this song for this myth because the farmer in this song works every day on his tractor, plowing his field and growing his crops. He prays for his family and that all his dreams of farming don't run dry. He doesn't want to hurt the environment, he wants to make it better by making it productive in producing food for America.

Fact; "Farmers, ranchers and other landowners have installed more than 2 million miles of conservation buffers under farm bill initiatives. Buffers improve soil, air, and water quality; enhance wildlife habitat; and create scenic landscapes."


Myth #4

Small farms are unimportant (150 acres and under) ...

*they are actually the backbone of the Ag Industry

*produce all the local fruits and veggies in your local grocery store and farmers market

* people build a relationship with the farmer this way

Woody Guthrie- This Land Is Your Land

This Land is Your Land By Woody Guthrie (1944)

I chose this song because to me, it means that even the "small" people or in this case small farms and farmers are equal. It also connects in the fact that there are farms "from California to the New York Island." All types of farms are significant to people everywhere in America.

Fact: "Family farms produce 86% of Americas food and fiber."

Fact: "More than 70% of farm bill-related spending goes to food and nutrition programs like food stamps, not to farmers; Only 10% of funding in the farm bill goes to farm programs."


Myth #5

Farmers are uneducated...

*It is true that some farmers may not have a special degree in something or never went to college but they constantly have to attend classes to use fertilizers and certain materials on the farm.

* Every day, they also have to be mechanics, veterinarians, weathermen, scientists, and businessmen.

"Thank God Im A Country Boy" Lyrics

Thank God I'm a Country Boy by John Denver (1974)

I chose this song for this myth because John Denver talks about simple life on the farm, getting up early, raising a family, and enjoying the ride of a country life. One doesn't have t have an education to be a good farmer or better yet, a good person in general.

Quotes: "In no other country do so few people produce so much food, to feed so many, at such reasonable prices" - President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

"Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field" - President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Fact: America's farmers and ranchers are true professionals. Most farmers and ranchers are trained and certified in the use of agricultural chemicals. And farmers test and evaluate the soil before administering fertilizers. Farmers and ranchers don't spend hard-earned money on costly fertilizers and nutrients unless they absolutely safe to do otherwise doesn't make good business sense.

Fact: Nearly 30 percent of today's farmers and ranchers have attended college, with over half of his group obtaining a degree. A growing number of today's farmers and ranchers with four-year college degrees are pursuing post-graduate studies.


Myth #6

All Farmers are rich...

* Farmers don't farm to become rich, they do it because they love it.

* Who would want all their responsibilities just for fun, and who didn't love it in the first place?

Sawyer Brown - The Dirt Road

The Dirt Road by Sawyer Brown (1992)

I chose Sawyer Brown's song because he talks about his father working hard for the amount of money he earned and the difference from other people who don't have to work hard labor for money. The father also says he wouldn't change any road he took, even if the work was hard.

Fact: One pound of wool can make 10 miles of yarn. There are 150 yards (450 feet) of wool yarn in a baseball.

Fact: Soybeans are an important ingredient for the production of crayons. In fact, one acre of soybeans can produce 82,368 crayons


Myth #7

Meat from grocery stores are filled with hormones that are unnatural and unhealthy for people...

* There are so many strict rules before meat can even get near a food store.

* Animals are tested for chemicals, hormones, and medicines before they can even be slaughtered (especially cows).

*Also, a quick little fact, cattle have to be able to walk on their own off the trailer before they can be slaughtered for meat sold to the public.

Farmer's Blues--Merle Haggard & Marty Stuart

Farmer's Blues By Merle Haggard and Marty Stuart (July 1st, 2003)

I chose this classic song by Merle Haggard and Marty Stuart because it shows a negative sort of lighting of farming. A farmer constantly worries about "who'll buy their wheat and corn that will feed their children." Farmers worry about how they'll make it through all the time, just like regular families today. They aren't guaranteed a regular income either.

Fact: Cows are herbivores, so they only have teeth on the bottom

Fact:Cows must give birth to a calf in order to produce milk.


Myth #8

There is no future in Agriculture...

*The number of graduates with agricultural degrees are going up.

*The number of young farmers are going up.

*We will always need a food supply for the United States and the other countries we help and serve.

Alabama - Song of the South (Chevy)

Song of The South By Alabama (1989)

I chose this Alabama song because, to me, this is one of the most notable country songs ever means, in a general manner, there will always be a "south" or in this case, an agriculture community. You can interpret the song any way you want to, that is what music is all about. In my opinion, this song gives people hope for a future in agriculture and farming.

Fact: Elevators in the Statue of Liberty use a soybean-based hydraulic fluid.