BLOG: When the national media gets it wrong

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published on November 14, 2022 – 11:32
Written by Gabriel Dillard

If there’s one thing farmers enjoy — other than growing the food that feeds us all — it’s complaining.

If you’ve spent time with a farmer, you probably know this.

Whether it’s the weather, pests, their favorite sports team, water (or lack thereof), regulations or city dwellers, they have something to complain about.

Another pet peeve is how they are portrayed by the media. And when you consider what was presented as “fact” in a recent Forbes article, it’s easy to see why.

Last week, we shared a Forbes article titled “California Congressman Josh Harder’s FARM Bill Could Revolutionize Central Valley’s Biotech Ecosystem, Turn Almond Husks Into Yoga Pants” in our summary. morning – an email digest of local business stories from a variety of sources around the valley and country.

Part of this story caught the eye of a loyal reader who also happens to be a commodity trader. The lines in question:

“In addition to high water consumption, the almond industry produces a lot of waste in the form of shells and husks. These materials are usually discarded and burned. Not only is this wasteful, but it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions by returning all the carbon sequestered and stored in plant matter back into our atmosphere.

The reader had a particular bone to pick with the “generally tossed and burned” line.

The problem? That’s just not true, this reader pointed out. In fact, the by-product of almond production – called almond shells – is commonly used to supplement the diet of dairy cows. In fact, according to trade publication West Coast Nut Grower, the price per ton of shells for this year’s crop is forecast at $170.

That’s up from a 2020 average of $93.

An unfortunate aside: these little suckers are just waiting to burn, especially when stored in huge piles. When this happens, it’s not on purpose – and that’s big news.

Another thing about farmers: they know how to spend money. Think multi-millionaires in dusty Wrangler jeans. They are not the type to light cigars with hundred dollar bills.

Of course, it’s one thing not to be interested in how our food system works. For many, food comes from the grocery store. What can you do? It is quite another to spread false information. But as many Central Valley business interests know — including this news operation — the national media can paint in broad strokes.

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