The agriculture and farming industry has long been held to ransom by the demands of the biggest businesses in the sector. However, the Farm News media outlet seems to have taken offense to a cartoon it published that took a sharp, critical view of the work of big agricultural business leaders. After 21 years creating cartoons, self-taught cartoonist Rick Friday appears to have drawn his final cartoon for the outlet. Rick Friday has been creating artwork for the Farm News media outlet for 21 years under his weekly, “It’s Friday!” cartoon. In his work, Friday has often looked to take a different view of the agricultural sector that comes from his life spent living and working in the agricultural sector in the Midwest.
The cartoon drawn by Rock Friday was initially received well by the readers of the Farm News outlet that is based in Fort Dodge, Iowa. In the cartoon, Friday depicted two stereotypical white farmers in the process of repairing a razor-wire fence discussing the lack of profit in farming for everyday Americans. One of the farmer’s states, “I wish there was more profit in farming.” To which the second responds, “There is, in the year 2015 the CEOs of Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, and John Deere combined made more money than 2129 Iowa farmers.”
Friday revealed he had completed a large amount of research to ensure the statistics he used were correct to avoid any problems with his work. The cartoon was accepted by his editor and the Friday publication was met with excellent reviews from the readers of the Farm News platform. Rick Friday explained he understood the cartoon may be controversial because of the liberal view of the farming industry he was taking. However, the role of big business in the farming sector has become increasingly controversial in the last few years with farmers struggling to make ends meet because of reduced profits for their products.
Rick Friday suddenly found himself at the center of a storm when he received an email from the Editor of Farm News reprimanding him for the cartoon. The sequence of events moved quickly from there with Farm News revealing the Editor himself had faced the wrath of his superiors for approving the publication of the cartoon. The Editorial cartoonist was told by his Editor at Farm News that his services were no longer required following a complaint from an advertiser with the publication. Despite believing the cartoon was the best of a career that has spanned 21 years and resulted in the publication of over 1,000 cartoons for the Farm News platform, 56-year-old Friday fell foul of a large advertiser. The advertiser is said to have links to one of the large companies featured in the cartoon and took Umbridge at the liberal stance of the cartoon. Friday has since explained he believes the path of free speech is being strangled by advertisers not wanting to be criticized in a publication they feature in. In an emotional Facebook post saying goodbye to his readers, Rick Friday explained the freedom of the press is under threat in the U.S.