If there’s one thing farmers enjoy — aside from growing the food that feeds us all — it’s complaining.
If you have spent any time around a farmer, you probably know that.
Whether it’s weather, pests, their favorite sports team, water (or lack thereof), regulation or city folk — they have plenty to complain about.
Another common peeve is how they are portrayed by the news media. And when you consider what was presented as “fact” in a recent Forbes article, it’s easy to understand why.
Last week we shared a Forbes piece headlined “California Congressman Josh Harder’s FARM Bill Could Revolutionize The Central Valley’s Biotech Ecosystem And Turn Almond Husks Into Yoga Pants” on our Morning Roundup — an email digest of local business stories from various sources around the Valley and the country.
One part of that story caught the attention of a loyal reader who also happens to be a commodities trader. The lines in question:
“In addition to heavy water use, the almond industry produces a lot of waste in the form of shells and husks. These materials are typically discarded and burned. Not only is it wasteful, but it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions by putting all the carbon sequestered and stored in plant matter back into our atmosphere.”
The reader had a particular bone to pick with the line “typically discarded and burned.”
The problem? It’s simply not true, this reader pointed out. In fact, the byproduct of almond production — called almond hulls — is typically used to supplement the diets of dairy cows. In fact, according to trade publication West Coast Nut Grower, the price per ton of hulls for this year’s harvest is forecast at $170.
That’s up from an average of $93 in 2020.
An unfortunate aside: those little suckers just want to burn, especially when stored in huge piles. When it happens, it’s not on purpose — and it’s big news.
Another thing about farmers: they know how to stretch a buck. Think multi-millionaires decked out in dusty Wrangler jeans. They’re not the type to light cigars using hundred-dollar bills.
Of course, it’s one thing to take zero interest in how our food system works. For many, food comes from the grocery store. What can you do? It’s another thing to spread false information. But as many Central Valley business interests know — including this news operation — national media can paint in broad strokes.
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