TONY MELTON: The business of farming

January 13, 2019

Everyone loves a good mystery. This is the “Mystery Person,” so get your thinking caps on.

Most people in the world would soon die (within six months) if he and his cohorts quit work.

He is worse than a Las Vegas gambler, and most days he gambles his life and livelihood on the weather.

He and his cohorts determine the length and quality of our lives more than all the doctors combined.

He receives less respect than Rodney Dangerfield, and many people think he is an illiterate hayseed.

He runs a mega business but many times makes less than minimum wage (if you count all of the hours).

Most people, especially political leaders, novices and many of you, ignorantly try to tell him how to operate his business in which he has invested his life.

His business has more regulations than any other business on the face of the earth.

Collectively, he and his cohorts invest and risk more money than any other businesses on earth.

In fact, he and his cohorts compose the No. 1 sector of our state’s and nation’s economy.

He is the lowly FARMER.

Farming is BIG BUSINESS. So many of you think that the government should have more control over it. Sorry, as you see now that government can’t even run itself.

Look at other countries where government has total control over farming – they must buy most of their food from us or other free countries.

Farming is our life’s blood in this county and makes us independent in this world.

Most farmers, especially me, have trouble with business principles. I tell farmers I can grow anything anywhere, but book work is not my gig, and we all know that nothing is finished until the paperwork is done. Therefore, many farmers’ wives – or, if the farm is large enough, administrators – are the backbone of the farm. Without knowing the bottom line, everything sinks.

Therefore, it is great that one of the areas that the Fruit & Vegetable Track at this year’s South Carolina AgriBiz & Farm Expo will focus on is Improving Business Principles.

This year’s Expo is on Jan. 23-24 at the Florence Center, and the Fruit & Vegetable Track will begin just before lunch each day. ACRE – or the Agribusiness Center for Research and Entrepreneurship of the S.C. Department of Agriculture – will help us all improve our business principles and our bottom lines in farming.

Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer. Email Melton at amelton@clemson.edu.

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