By Jessica Domel

Some think farmers are rich. Others say they’re poor. Who’s right?

The answer is both.

People see our family farm and others like it and think, “They own all that land. They must be rich!”

Some farmers inherit their land, like we did, from generations long gone. Some bought it in a good year. And others lease and care for land owned by others.

Owning land is a responsibility. It’s expensive to care for land whether you have one acre or a thousand. There are property taxes. Improvements. Upkeep. Future investments. The ultimate goal is to make it productive. And leave it better for generations to come.

Tractors, combines, seed and labor are not cheap. But they’re necessary to farm.

My dad told me this weekend, “Sometimes the money flies out the door.”

In good years, farm families may expand what they’re doing. They may pay down loans. They save for a rainy day.

In bad years, and there are many, the financial toll can be large on farm families. Things get tight, they make do and pray for a better crop next year.

So are American farmers rich or poor?

We’re rich with passion for our calling, pride in what we’ve accomplished and hope for the future.

We’re poor at cutting corners, giving up and giving in.