This should matter to you, if you are a Canadian. Max Fawcett’s salary is subsidized by Canadian tax payers. He is the lead columnist for Canada’s “National Observer” which is subsidized by the Canadian federal government.
But Max is pretty much a fool when it comes to having abilities to fact check things. He will blindly accept some random guy’s assertions on Twitter. But, even if it was not just some random person, he should still do his own fact checking, but clearly he is too lazy to do that and will retweet falsehoods.
When you’re subsidized by tax payers, why bother being a quality media person in Canada?
In the past, I’ve pointed several times to Max’s false analogies and logical fallacies, but yesterday, he did something really nasty and insulted Canadian farmers.
Now Max is foolishly retweeting nonsense about the typical Canadian farmer’s gross income per acre. He’s doing this to support the Carbon Tax, but clearly is so foolish, he can’t be bothered to fact check, and will accept wild claims. And your tax dollars subsidize these wild and false claims. Max is literally promoting misinformation.
It started when I noticed this tweet:
— Max Fawcett 🇨🇦 (@maxfawcett) December 6, 2022
A screen shot in case the above disappears:
I had a look at this and was astounded that someone was claiming that a typical farmer in Canada can gross as much as $20,000.00 an acre. I have some experience in agriculture in several countries but more importantly, in Canada, both in Ontario and Alberta. It’s been awhile, but as I looked at these figures, I wondered, “has inflation really gone up that much since I worked on the farm and ranch?”
A little research shows just how wrong these numbers are. But Max isn’t interested in truth or fact-checking, apparently. Notice Max actually writes, “Here’s the actual math…”
No Max, this is not the actual math.
Where did these numbers come from? As you can see, Max retweeted a tweet from the account of @BrentColman who self-describes himself as
“making data sexy again. political moderate. brittany spaniel influencer. doing hot nerd shit. many doggo posts. meddling artist. forever #yeg fanboy.”
He would later tweet:
No worries, if needed I pulled the data from here. https://t.co/lbet4BEIQW
As mentioned it was an Iowa study, but it's an institutional academic source and gives good ballpark figures. I can't imagine an acre of wheat in Iowa producing drastically different revenues than AB
— Brent & Fred's Excellent Adventure (@BrentColman) December 6, 2022
So, he “pulled” the data from this paper: https://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/wholefarm/html/c3-65.html, which I invite you to go and read, as well as the PDF this webpage is summarizing. It has zero to do with a typical Canadian farmer, but as you can read in the first paragraph, it has to do with:
The information that follows contains rough estimates of the potential revenues and costs for selected alternative agricultural enterprises. The information should not be viewed as the amount of income that would be returned to anyone that was growing or raising the particular product.
And this is what Max Fawcett is relying on and tweets complete misinformation in regard to Canadian farmers and the effect of the Carbon Tax on them: “Selected alternative agricultural enterprises.”
All it takes is a bit of research to find out how utterly wrong Fawcett is.
Let’s use winter red wheat as an example, as many Canadian farmers grow winter red wheat.
Many city folk have no clue about farming or growing crops and have some communist ideas that it “just happens” and every year is going to be the same – that is how they do their economic planning. In fact, yields can change greatly from year to year depending on a number of factors that cannot be controlled. Even a good harvest year may mean additional expenses, if the grain has too much moisture – it needs to be put into grain dryers to reduce moisture. I don’t know if many farmers had to do this, this year, but we can find out under ideal conditions, what a red wheat farmer in Canada grossed per acre, before expenses.
According to AgriCorp, for Ontario winter wheat:
Winter wheat harvest for 2022 is now complete, and most Production Insurance customers have reported their yields to Agricorp. Soft red winter wheat yields reported by Production Insurance customers averaged around 98 bushels per acre,
Ninety-eight bushels per acre. So what’s the price of a bushel of winter red wheat? As of December 6th, the day Max retweeted his faucet of nonsense, a bushel of winter red wheat was selling for $8.7852
Source – Macrotrends
Let’s teach Max some math. We’ll acknowledge the price is probably in US funds so we convert this to CAD (which I did not bother to do in my responses to the faucet of disinformation yesterday) was about 11.95CAD (but of course, a Canadian farmer would not get 11.95CAD).
So Max, here’s how we figure out gross income per acre for a typical Canadian farmer in Ontario who is growing winter red wheat. We multiply the average yield in bushels by the price of a bushel on the market. You get a calculator (even mobile devices have them) and you go like this:
11.95 x 98
Do we need to explain this math operation?
98 is the number of bushels yielded per acre and 11.95 is the going price for a bushel.
The result is $1,171.10 per acre, GROSS before expenses including labour, fuel costs, time, grain drying, storage, transportation.
Where the heck can anyone come up with a range of 8K to 20K US from an acre for a typical Canadian farmer?
Well, you can, if you don’t read and comprehend papers, and can’t do or are too lazy to do basic fact checking, like so many in the media such as Max Fawcett seem incapable of doing.
But you are supposed to “trust them” – they are the gatekeepers of accurate information, they claim.
In fact, they are a faucet of misinformation, regularly in Canada.
Canadian Media Subsidized
Why should you care about some fool as Max the Faucet of Misinformation?
Max’s publication, the National Observer is funded by Canadian tax payers. As a tax payer, you should demand better of how your money is used, and if it is used for misinformation, demand it stop being used for that.
Max Faucett, as he continues to publish and tweet misinformation, without even five minutes of fact checking, is a fraud.
Update – Max And His Rebate Claims
Max has taken me to task for suggesting that farmers rebates on the Carbon Tax might be 1500.00 maximum when the carbon tax hits 170.00/tonne. He is partially correct – in that we don’t actually know what or if there will be a rebate in 2030.
But this year, we do know from accountants that work with Farm Taxes, the MAXIMUM rebate for ANY farm is $1500.00 (source)
But the problem with Max taking me to task for using that figure is that he hasn’t recognized that we don’t know if there will be a rebate program in place in 2030, or what the rebate will be. The present rebate program is a 2 year “pilot program.”
But, let’s assume the rebate quadruples as the carbon tax more than triples. Presently, the maximum is $1500.00. If that rebate were to quadruple to a maximum $4500.00, it’s still an insignificant amount against what a large farm might be paying in carbon taxes, which possibly could be as much as $250,000.00. To a small farmer who has to pay carbon taxes, even a $4500.00 rebate is insignificant and doesn’t help them much.
And please note this is a “maximum” rebate. Many farmers will get much less, even though the carbon tax will significantly affect their farm business. Many of you have no clue about the energy needs on a farm. It’s not just a tractor towing a trailer. Its tractors, combine harvesters, sometimes running 18 hours a day, and then grain drying that can pretty much only be done with natural gas. Grain above a certain moisture content cannot be stored safely – and grain cannot always be harvested only when the moisture content is at a safe level. I know this, because I’ve helped with grain harvests, measuring moisture content, and operating the huge grain dryers that can run during the the harvesting season, for many days in a row, 24 hours a day.
But this misses the entire point that Max Faucet Of Misinformation and Disinformation just didn’t bother to do any fact checking in the first place in regard to the typical Canadian farmer’s gross earnings per acre. Instead, he simply retweeted someone else, and who used a paper from an American University on “Alternative” agricultural enterprises. Nothing to do with typical Canadian farming.
It’s pathetic, really.
I have been receiving some tweets on twitter in regard to all of this, and my attempts to bring to Fawcett’s attention about being a media person, yet retweeting ignorant and absolutely incorrect information, and then seemingly approving of the information with his reply to Brent Colman with “This is really helpful information, Brent – – Thanks!”
If this is trolling, then I approve. Those in the media, who are also attempting to persuade others, and sway opinions, yet casually accept information that is not just wrong, but grossly wrong, ought to be trolled and held accountable. Many of these media types think highly of themselves – that they are elite thinkers or something, when obviously they don’t even know how, or care to fact check things.
Troll away at these people. Media people who tweet or retweet absolute garbage lies that suit their narrative or what they are trying to persuade you of, are lazy.
Update – December 9, 2022
Three days later, Max has seen the light! I will give credit where credit is due – and today, Max tweeted a thread admitting that his first retweet on this subject and the number provided applied to vegetable/fruit and organic farm producers.
He called his twitter thread an “accountability thread:”
Time for a bit of an accountability thread. The other day, I shared a post from @BrentColman about the revenue generated by certain kinds of farming operations. It was a good post! You can find it here: https://t.co/y9Nlm3KoC2
— Max Fawcett 🇨🇦 (@maxfawcett) December 9, 2022
In the his tweet thread, he referred to me as his “obsessive interlocutor:”
But as my rather obsessive interlocutor @ianhughscott pointed out, this data was for organic farming operations and producers of fruits/vegetables — not wheat/grain.
These are crucial aspects of our food supply chain. But they are not representative of all farming operations. pic.twitter.com/97cunNEODf
— Max Fawcett 🇨🇦 (@maxfawcett) December 9, 2022
Indeed, I can be obsessive. Obsession with getting the truth out, digging for the truth, and exposing where falsehoods or misleading statements have been written. I spent almost 20 years in the role of “community based policing,” and that obsession did me well. Being obsessed when troubleshooting issues, and figuring out what is wrong – again, that characteristic has helped me.
I am not obsessed and was not obsessed with Matt Faucet, but rather the incorrect ideas he had communicated in regard to how much a typical Canadian farmer earns per acre. The figures were totally whacky.
Max has a following of 36.5K Twitter accounts and I would dare to say, but am not sure, Canadian progressive types, some of whom probably lap up information that purports to show the Carbon Tax effects are being exaggerated. In this case, they were certainly minimized to a point of absurdity with claims a typical farmer grosses 8-20 times per acre that what is real. I strongly believed the record needed to be corrected, and swiftly.
His next tweet in his thread was interesting – I will deal with it here:
He then spiraled, starting getting weirdly personal and aggressive, and even wrote a blog post about what a terrible journalist I am. And fair enough: everyone has a right to their opinion.
But in all the bluster and name calling….there was some truth in his criticism. pic.twitter.com/0q8Wjf2yw5
— Max Fawcett 🇨🇦 (@maxfawcett) December 9, 2022
He claims I “spiraled” and indicated I was “aggressive.” When it comes to Twitter and online communications, these are laughable terms of projection. I was getting a lot of notifications to my original and subsequent replies to Max which were lame, rude, and mocking – but I knew I was correct. I did the work to fact check, and Max wasn’t getting it himself, that the figures were totally whacky.
I did write some things as this grew, in reply, to the notifications I was getting. But “aggressive?” This is one of those weird things people claim on Twitter and other online media platforms – and I wonder if they have ever experienced real actual aggression. There was never any threats of aggression on my part. There were, words. But to project that they were “aggressive” is a bit much.
I won’t belabour the point much, but in this tweet, Max stated “there was some truth in his criticism.”
Well, no. There wasn’t just “some truth,” but full truth in my criticism – although I will hand it to Max that my rebate numbers for 2030 may be wrong. But guess what? As pointed out above, there may not even be a rebate, and we don’t know. Anyways, the contention that the rebate will make the Carbon Tax for farmers almost a nothing-burger as was originally implied, is just simply wrong. No matter the size of the farm, or the expenses (and not all expenses can be used to calculate the rebate), there is a maximum rebate this year, of $1,500.00.
Having said all this, I do give Max credit for at least revisiting the claims three days later, and “tagging” me when he did his “accountability” thread.
I have gained some respect for him, in that he did revisit and admitted the figures he had retweeted simply do not apply to Canadian grain farmers.
Thank you for that, Max.