Yes, I admit it. My farm is a corporate farm. It is complete with a detailed share structure, profit sharing agreement and board meetings. We have detailed budgets for separate product lines. We have payroll and employee benefits. We do not sell our products at local shops or farmers markets. It is a big business.
I bet right now you are forming a picture in your head, and it’s not an especially nice one. Anyone that has been following the Food Movement that has been happening over the past decade knows that corporate farming is bad business. Bad for the environment, bad for a healthy food supply, bad for you.
But then there is this:
My farm is a family farm. It is 100% owned by myself, my husband and his two parents. Our board meetings alternate between our two kitchen tables, and budgets are prepared in between hockey practices and after the kids go to bed. We have two full time hired men, and sometimes their greatest benefit is being able to bring their kids to work with them. We love everything about agriculture with a fierce passion. We have never, ever, sold a product that we wouldn’t happily serve to our children. Every decision on the farm takes more than just finances into consideration. Our number one goal is to leave a farm to our children that is both environmentally and economically viable. We are self-proclaimed “dirt nerds”, who routinely take measurements of the health of our soil.
While it may be hard to reconcile the two, both descriptions are honest depictions of our farm. Although some may consider us “Big Agri”, and you can’t buy our beef or grain at farmers markets – we work with our hands in the dirt everyday, using only the technology that makes the most sense to us. We could not be more proud of the delicious fruits of our labour.
Our farm (and most farms) are Incorporated for two simple reasons:
- No one wants to pay more tax than they have to; and
- Passing the farm from generation to generation is difficult without such a structure.
In Canada, even though many are considered corporations, 98% of farms are family owned and operated. If you want to talk about being big, 98% is a BIG number. One that I am proud that my corporate farm is part of.
So next time you click “like” or “share” when you see that MonSatan and Corporate Farms are taking over agriculture and control of the food supply, please remember what corporate farming really looks like: My husband and I, buying some land, and trying to make a go at farming.